Innovative systems exploring the flexibility and the transparency of modern semiconducting materials are being widely researched by the scientific community and by several companies. For a low-cost production and large surface area applications, thin-film transistors (TFTs) are the key elements driving the system currents. In order to maintain a cost efficient integration process, solution based materials are used as they show an outstanding tradeoff between cost and system complexity. In this paper, we discuss the integration process of ZnO nanoparticle TFTs using a high-k resin as gate dielectric. The performance in dependence on the transistor structure has been investigated, and inverted staggered setups depict an improved performance over the coplanar device increasing both the field-effect mobility and the ION/IOFF ratio. Aiming at the evaluation of the TFT characteristics for digital circuit applications, inverter circuits using a load TFT in the pull-up network and an active TFT in the pull-down network were integrated. The inverters show reasonable switching characteristics and V/V gains. Conjointly, the influence of the geometry ratio and the supply voltage on the devices have been analyzed. Moreover, as all integration steps are suitable to polymeric templates, the fabrication process is fully compatible to flexible substrates.
Keywords: ZnO; flexible electronics; inverter circuit; low-cost; low-temperature; nanoparticles; thin-film transistor.