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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C010434/1
Title: Polymer electrophotonic devices for X-ray imaging
Principal Investigator: Sirringhaus, Professor H
Other Investigators:
Friend, Professor Sir R Greenham, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Leeds General Infirmary
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 September 2005 Ends: 31 January 2008 Value (£): 297,474
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys. Materials Processing
Materials Synthesis & Growth Optical Devices & Subsystems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Healthcare
Related Grants:
EP/C540344/1 EP/C540336/1
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Electronic and optoelectronic devices based on conjugated polymer semiconductors have experienced dramatic performance improvements in recent years. At present polymer diodes and FETs are being developed for separate first-generation applications. Emissive displays based on polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) driven by an active matrix of thin-film silicon field-effect transistors (FETs) are set to take a significant share of the flat panel display market within the next 2-3 years. Polymer-based FETs are finding first applications in flexible electronic paper displays, combining a printed active matrix backplane with an electrophoretic display medium, as well as low-cost, wireless intelligent labels. One of the principal strengths of polymer materials is the ability to integrate both electronic and optical functions on a common substrate. Integration of such electrophotonic devices is notoriously difficult for many inorganic semiconductor technologies, however in the case of polymers the wide spectrum of physical propeties which can be implemented through synthetic variation of chemical structure, and the ease of processing to produce multilayer, multifunctional assemblies is likely to become a very important attribute of organic semiconductor technology for next generation applications. The project will focus on the development of such polymer electrophotonic devices for applications in medical X-ray imaging, which require the combination of photodiodes for X-ray detection, and transistors for read-out of the detected intensity pattern from a large pixellated imaging array with minimal crosstalk. It is only within the past five years that such large area, direct reading digital arrays have been available for use in general radiology, mammography, cardiology and neuroradiology. Although available, the technology using amorphous silicon inorganic semiconductors has been found to be too expensive for many hospitals and has not, therefore, found widespread use. The advantages of digital systems include the ability to use teleradiology facilities for improved consultation on difficult cases or the use of image processing techniques and computer aided diagnosis. Being able to provide these advantages to all areas of medical X-ray imaging requires the development of low cost digital imaging arrays. This project will provide the proof of principle that polymer devices manufactured by low-cost solution processing and direct printing techniques combined with an appropriate scintillator could satisfy the needs of a cheap, large area, imaging array. It brings together two of the UK's leading groups in the field of polymer electronics with one of the leading groups in the field of Medical Physics & Engineering. The project will provide an assessment of the fundamental materials properties and device physics issues which are crucial for this application, but for which the scientific understanding in the case of polymers is poor at present. It will develop novel device architectures and device integration schemes that will allow meeting the demanding performance requirements for this application with solution-processed / printed polymer technology and will provide a basic feasibility demonstration.
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