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Fold-up TV’s one step closer with 700k grant

Television screens which can be folded up like newspapers, light- emitting wallpaper and flat and flexible displays are just some of the applications which could arise from Scottish Higher Education Funding Council research at the University of St Andrews.

The £694,000 grant, part of a package of SHEFC grants being announced today, will allow a team led by Professor Ifor Samuel to investigate remarkable plastics which can conduct electricity. The materials combine the virtues of semiconductors with the flexibility and simple manufacture of plastics. When a voltage is applied to a semiconducting plastic it emits light, forming the basis of a new technology for the display of information. By shining light on the materials, electricity can be generated.

Professor Samuel said, “Conventional semiconductors are made of inorganic materials like silicon which are rigid and expensive. Organic semiconductors are flexible, low cost and versatile plastic-like materials, opening exciting new directions for electronics. This means that in a few years it will be possible to make television screens which can be rolled up when not in use, information displays on roller- blinds, and light-emitting clothing for safety or fashion applications. The new facility will enable us to understand and develop these remarkable materials, and begin to explore other uses including solar power.”

The Organic Semiconductor Interdisciplinary Research Facility will involve bringing together physicists and chemists to study how these novel materials can carry a current and emit light so that the scientists can go on to create new plastic-like materials in which the properties can be precisely controlled. These new materials will have a major impact on the Scottish semiconductor and optoelectronics industries.

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC) distributes public money for teaching and research to nineteen higher education institutions in Scotland. For further information, visit website – http://www.shefc.ac.uk.

ENDS

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: ifor- shefc/standrews/chg/28may2001

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