Enabling printed flexible electronics: Solution-processed materials and device integration
To move beyond silicon technology and shift towards new applications and manufacturing approaches, we need solution-processed electronic materials — which can be deposited and patterned with tools commonly used in the printing and graphics design industry. Over the past decade, solution-processed semiconducting materials have been explored largely for incremental applications such as information displays. But, we can enable the fabrication of electronic devices that are fully built from solution by combining derivatives of these semiconductors with emerging solution-dispersible metal and metal oxide nanoparticles and nanowires.
This new device-processing platform enables device form factors and integration of functionality in systems not previously feasible with conventional semiconductor technology. Examples of novel applications and systems enabled by this platform include: large-area, ultralight, and flexible power harvesting; logic-integrated sensing; and memory technologies.
I will discuss the development of integrated sensing systems at PARC to illustrate and demonstrate the challenges and advantages of using solution-processed electronic materials for flexible applications.
Ana Claudia Arias currently manages PARC's Printed Electronic Devices group, which uses inkjet printing techniques to fabricate organic, active matrix display backplanes for paper-like displays and flexible sensors. She also serves as principal investigator for PARC’s DARPA sensor-tape program.
Internationally recognized for her expertise in polymer-based electronics and printed electronics, including OLEDs, photovoltaics, and TFTs, Dr. Arias holds a doctorate in physics (polymer photovoltaics) from Cambridge University. Prior to joining PARC, Dr. Arias served as the semiconductor materials group leader of Plastic Logic Limited, a startup company in the U.K. that develops flexible printed backplanes for displays. She received her Master’s and bachelor degrees in physics from Brazil’s Federal University of Paraná, where she focused on the use of semiconducting polymers for light-emitting diodes.
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