Merit analysis is a vital element of the scientific process, ensuring that research is based on rigorous evidence and sound methodology. It enables scientific advancement, boosts credibility, quality and reliability for future research. It allows a research community to build a common language, common practices and common logic.
Sometimes a discovery that contradicts merit analysis, and the so-called “figures of merit” on which performance benchmarking depend, results in a sea of change for research field. One such change may have just occurred in the labs of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy and Research (CAER).
A new paper from Alexandra F. Paterson’s organic electronics group, “The organic electrochemical transistor conundrum when reporting a mixed ionic-electronic transport figure of merit,” challenges traditional practices in organic electronics, specifically organic mixed ionic-electronic conductors (OMIECs) and organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs). It was recently published in Nature Materials. You can find the full paper online here.
Conductors (materials that easily conduct electricity) and transistors (the on-off switches of those materials) are the bread-and-butter of our electronically driven world. Every phone, computer, light switch and vehicle has transistors. Typically, these are made of silicon and non-renewable resources. Paterson’s lab focuses on creating transistors utilizing organic (carbon-based) materials that are more flexible than their rigid counterparts.
“Nowadays, we have billions of transistors in a smartphone. These transistors are so fundamental to our society – imagine how much impact we could have if we developed transistors with new, organic, more environmentally friendly materials with different mechanical properties, that can be used in a new environments,” Paterson said.