Sec. Interdisciplinary Physics
Volume 10 - 2022 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fphy.2022.888155
Editorial: Organic Electronics: Future Trends in Materials, Fabrication Techniques and Applications
- 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna and National Institute for Nuclear Physics—INFN Section of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
- 2Laboratory ITODYS, Université de Paris, CNRS, Paris, France
- 3Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Editorial on the Research Topic
Organic Electronics: Future Trends in Materials, Fabrication Techniques and Applications
Since the discovery of the conducting properties of polyacetylene by the scientists Shirakawa, MacDiarmid and Heeger in 1977 [1–3], which led them to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000, organic electronics has been deeply investigated by the research community, emerging as a promising technology for the conception and realization of innovative and smart devices. Indeed, the unique properties of organic small molecules and polymers, such as their easy processability from solution, possibility of deposition at low temperature, over large areas and by means of low-cost techniques compatible with roll-to-roll printing processes, make them ideal candidates for the development of a novel platform for advanced opto- and micro-electronic devices and sensing systems, easily scalable from lab to industrial prototypes . Moreover, the high electronic performances achieved thanks to recent progress in molecular tailoring  and device conception and fabrication are pushing technology of organic electronics even closer to the marketplace for a large plethora of applications.
Despite the great potential of organic electronics explored in the last 20 years, light emitting diodes are the only organic devices commercialized so far. Organic electronics are expected to impact other research fields, such as solar cells [6, 7], UV-vis  and ionizing radiation detectors [9, 10], memories , chemical and biological sensors , etc. However, several challenges have still to be addressed, which are feeding the research activity of the last years.
The current and future trend of organic electronics has been clearly intercepted by the papers reported in this research topic, as shown by the exponential growth of the number of articles published in the field in the last 10 years. The most promising applications of organic electronic devices encompasses device tools and items for Internet-of-Things (IoT) systems, specifically targeting wearable electronics for energy harvesting and healthcare applications.
Alves and co-workers here propose graphene-based triboelectric nanogenerators, whose components are fabricated by low-cost, easy fabrication, and fast methods, i.e., shear exfoliated graphene electrodes and an active layer composed by graphene combined with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) deposited by spin-coating. The exfoliated electrodes exhibit sheet resistance as that of chemical vapor deposited graphene thin films, corresponding to excellent device electrical power generation, i.e., tens fold higher than similar devices with aluminum electrodes. This result establishes the employment of shear exfoliated graphene back electrodes as an effective and reliable alternative metallic layer in triboelectric nanogenerators. The authors demonstrate excellent performances of shear exfoliated graphene also as triboelectric layer combined with PDMS and deposited by spin coating, further assessing, and paving the way for the potential exploitation of carbon-based components to be integrated by solution deposition techniques in wearable and textile energy harvesting and sensing systems.
With a similar aim, Tessarolo and co-workers here present a textile moisture sensor to monitor the wounds’ healing process. The authors develop an e-textile moisture impedance sensor based on electrodes made of the conductive polymer poly (3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene): polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) screen-printed onto a gauze and embedded into a commercial bandage. The device is interfaced with an RFID read-out chip, allowing a real-time, wireless, and fully passive read-out. Such a smart textile sensor demonstrates to be able to estimate the exudate volume, and thus permits both the identification of the saturation regime of the bandage and to discriminate between dry and wet status of the wound. The real-time monitoring of moisture would avoid the usual removing of the dressing and would allow the implementation of personalized therapy for optimal wound care and tissue regeneration. This work strongly contributes towards the implementation of organic electronic devices as innovative, easy, low-cost, and disposable tools for healthcare application.
Besides solution processes, an alternative promising approach to implement e-textile devices is the fabrication of functional fibers as active elements to be sewn in smart garments. This approach has been followed by Lenord and co-workers, who report here stretchable electrodes and electrochemical transistors based on conductive PEDOT: tosylate (PEDOT:Tos) nanofibers. The fabrication of the devices consists in a combination of electrospinning and printing techniques, which are processes compatible with industrial upscaling, and thus they are appealing for production-scale fabrication. The authors show how high conductivity and suitable mechanical flexibility of electrospun mats can be reached by controlling the processing time, fiber morphology and junction density. The high potential of organic conductive nanofibers, for stretchable and wearable electronics is strengthened by this study, thanks to the excellent endurance of their electrical and mechanical properties here demonstrated.
Concluding, all the reports of this research topic witness the peculiar challenge of organic electronics for the development of new sensors and devices for novel portable, wearable and textile systems, in the area of the IoT, with a particular focus on multi-parameter and real-time monitoring for healthcare applications.
All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.
3. Shirakawa H, Louis EJ, MacDiarmid AG, Chiang CK, Heeger AJ. Synthesis of Electrically Conducting Organic Polymers: Halogen Derivatives of Polyacetylene, (CH) X. J Chem Soc Chem Commun (1977)(16) 578–80. doi:10.1039/c39770000578
4. Diao Y, Tee BC-K, Giri G, Xu J, Kim DH, Becerril HA, et al. Solution Coating of Large-Area Organic Semiconductor Thin Films with Aligned Single-Crystalline Domains. Nat Mater (2013) 12(7):665–71. doi:10.1038/nmat3650
5. Fratini S, Nikolka M, Salleo A, Schweicher G, Sirringhaus H. Charge Transport in High-Mobility Conjugated Polymers and Molecular Semiconductors. Nat Mater (2020) 19(5):491–502. doi:10.1038/s41563-020-0647-2
7. Kaltenbrunner M, White MS, Głowacki ED, Sekitani T, Someya T, Sariciftci NS, et al. Ultrathin and Lightweight Organic Solar Cells with High Flexibility. Nat Commun (2012) 3:770. doi:10.1038/ncomms1772
10. Griffith MJ, Cottam S, Stamenkovic J, Posar JA, Petasecca M. Printable Organic Semiconductors for Radiation Detection: from Fundamentals to Fabrication and Functionality. Front Phys (2020) 8. doi:10.3389/fphy.2020.00022
Keywords: conducting polymers, small molecules, functional materials, wearable electronics, e-textiles, graphene, solution growth, advanced devices
Citation: Basiricò L, Mattana G and Mas-Torrent M (2022) Editorial: Organic Electronics: Future Trends in Materials, Fabrication Techniques and Applications. Front. Phys. 10:888155. doi: 10.3389/fphy.2022.888155
Received: 02 March 2022; Accepted: 23 March 2022;
Published: 06 April 2022.
Edited and reviewed by:Leyong Wang, Nanjing University, China
Copyright © 2022 Basiricò, Mattana and Mas-Torrent. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Giorgio Mattana, firstname.lastname@example.org