One More Step Toward the Invisible Transistor

One More Step Toward the Invisible Transistor


Transistors don’t have to be visible to be effective. That is certainly true for a new technology developed at the Birck Nanotechnology Center. The Purdue University center has produced a combination of nanowires, glass, and flexible plastic that meshes functions to simulate a transistor. The wires are such that they have properties of zinc oxide or indium oxide, which are outside the visible realm of light. Translation: We can’t see them.

The film and the glass, of course, are transparent as well, meaning that the entire apparatus is as good as invisible to the naked eye. Previous projects had been unable to make all parts of the technology disappear.

What does this mean in the real world? Quite a bit, potentially. We can see applications of this in video displays, certainly, like eyeglasses or headsets, windshields, in-wall windows, and even e-paper. We could even see something like 3-D goggles receiving streams of wireless transmissions.

We’re talking about a prototype, of course, so we’re not clear on when this sort of thing will be available to all and sundry. We suspect that the wait won’t be long.