The field of flexible electronics has rapidly expanded over the last decades, pioneering novel applications, such as wearable and textile integrated devices, seamless and embedded patch-like systems, soft electronic skins, as well as imperceptible and transient implants. The possibility to revolutionize our daily life with such disruptive appliances has fueled the quest for electronic devices which yield good electrical and mechanical performance and are at the same time light-weight, transparent, conformable, stretchable, and even biodegradable. Flexible metal oxide semiconductor thin-film transistors (TFTs) can fulfill all these requirements and are therefore considered the most promising technology for tomorrow's electronics. This review reflects the establishment of flexible metal oxide semiconductor TFTs, from the development of single devices, large-area circuits, up to entirely integrated systems. First, an introduction on metal oxide semiconductor TFTs is given, where the history of the field is revisited, the TFT configurations and operating principles are presented, and the main issues and technological challenges faced in the area are analyzed. Then, the recent advances achieved for flexible n-type metal oxide semiconductor TFTs manufactured by physical vapor deposition methods and solution-processing techniques are summarized. In particular, the ability of flexible metal oxide semiconductor TFTs to combine low temperature fabrication, high carrier mobility, large frequency operation, extreme mechanical bendability, together with transparency, conformability, stretchability, and water dissolubility is shown. Afterward, a detailed analysis of the most promising metal oxide semiconducting materials developed to realize the state-of-the-art flexible p-type TFTs is given. Next, the recent progresses obtained for flexible metal oxide semiconductor-based electronic circuits, realized with both unipolar and complementary technology, are reported. In particular, the realization of large-area digital circuitry like flexible near field communication tags and analog integrated circuits such as bendable operational amplifiers is presented. The last topic of this review is devoted for emerging flexible electronic systems, from foldable displays, power transmission elements to integrated systems for large-area sensing and data storage and transmission. Finally, the conclusions are drawn and an outlook over the field with a prediction for the future is provided.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)