Stanford scientists help create a novel way to do time-lapse studies of crystallization that will lead to more flexible and effective electronic displays, circuits and pharmaceutical drugs. High-speed video shows crystal ribbons forming as the solution is spread using a squeegee-like technique. Gaurav Giri Sometimes engineers invent something before they fully comprehend why it works. To understand the “why,” they must often create new tools and techniques in a virtuous cycle that improves the original invention while also advancing basic scientific knowledge. Such was the case about two years ago, when Stanford engineers discovered how to make a more efficient type of “strained organic semiconductors” that carry currents faster – a big step toward producing flexible electronic devices that couldn’t be built using rigid silicon chips. Stanford chemical engineering Professor Zhenan Bao and her team discovered how to control the process through which those organic molecules assembled and crystallized as the liquid evaporated. Their findings are described in a recent Nature Communications study. Bao and her team wanted to understand why their process created such an electronically useful crystal lattice. So they launched a new experiment with help from organic thin film characterization expert Aram Amassian, an assistant professor at King Abdullah University
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