Thin Film Transistor Technology-Past, Present, and Future
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The history of TFT development is as old as that of the modern MOSFET. In spite of early demonstrations of functional devices and products, the technology enjoyed great success only after the first report of a-Si:H TFTs prepared by the PECVD process. Fabrication of large-area TFT arrays on low temperature substrates has evolved with a high throughput but at low cost. In the past 20 years, there have been great advances in TFT device physics, material properties, and fabrication processes. The worldwide TFT LCD market has grown to about $110 billion in 2012. The current TFT application is mainly for pixel driving in large-area LCDs. The TFT architecture has also been used in products such as medical X-ray imagers and mobile consumer goods. Industry R&D activities have been aiming at improving the cost, yield, and throughput of large-area panels. Academic research in many universities has helped in the understanding of material properties responsible for the TFT performance as well as the underlying chemistry and physics of the fabrication processes. At the same time, a large number of new applications in non-LCD areas have been reported. Additionally, organic and oxide TFTs have been studied as possible alternatives for Si-based TFTs for lowering production costs or for improving carrier mobility. In the near future, advances in TFT technology will probably still be driven by the LCD industry. However, new TFT products in the areas of flexible electronics, integrated circuits, sensors, etc. may be realized once outstanding challenges are resolved. In summary, the TFT is a versatile solid state transistor configuration that can be applied to a wide range of products with few constraints on substrate size or material choice. 2013 The Electrochemical Society; all rights reserved.
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