Scientists from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have succeeded in finding a way to make transparent transistors and other essential components of electronic circuitry. This development can be really revolutionary as it may lead to displays on car windscreens, transparent TV sets and smart windows.
Currently, the material used for electronics is Indium tin oxide or ITO. ITO is the preferable material because it possesses the quality of both optical transparency and electrical conductivity. Ito finds use in touch-sensitive smartphone screens to light-harvesting solar panels.
The problem with ITO is that Indium is in short supply so as the demand increases for ITO containing devices, Indium also becomes pricier. There is a low cost alternative for ITO though which is known as aluminium-doped zinc oxide (AZO). But the problem with this alternative is that their performance is quite inferior as compared to devices made from ITO.
In order to overcome this limitation, the researchers used a high-precision technology called atomic layer deposition in which the circuitry is built up using a single layer of atoms at a time. The team used a transparent material called hafnium oxide to that was sandwiched between layers of zinc oxide to form the highly stable transistors used to fabricate the transparent circuits. Hope we get to see the amazing uses of transparent circuits very soon.