Printed electronics: The confluence of printing and semiconductors


Date Thursday November 18th 2010
Time 6:00-7:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium, PARC

PARC Forum

In recent years, there has been significant interest in the applications of printed electronics in the realization of fully printed RFID tags and embedded sensors.  Printing of active circuitry is expected to enable a dramatic reduction in the overall cost of these systems, allowing for integration of electronic barcodes and product quality detection systems into consumer goods.  Printing techniques that have been considered range from high-speed commercial gravure printing through ultra-scaled inkjet printing.  While many of the printing techniques under consideration have evolved from techniques already widely deployed in graphic arts applications, the requirements for printed electronics are in many ways dramatically different from those that exist for conventional graphic arts.

In this talk, I will review the challenges for realizing printed electronics.  Specifically, I will discuss the challenges associated with utilizing printing to realize printed semiconductor-based circuits, including analyses of layer-to-layer registration, line-edge roughness, thickness control, surface energy control, and general pattern fidelity issues.  Additionally, I will overview the state of the art in printed electronic materials.  I will review our work on developing materials, processes, devices, and circuit architectures for all-printed RFID and tags and, based on these results, will evaluate the likely system constraints that will define such fully printed systems.  We have already realized a full range of printable transistors, diodes, passive components, and memories suitable for use in RFID applications.  Performance of these components is rapidly approaching the requisite levels for realization of simple RF Barcodes.  Based on robust models we have developed for our devices, I will review the circuit implications of the same and will review the likely topology and performance limits associated with fully printed RFID.  Furthermore, I will review or work on developing a range of chemical and biosensors for use in low-cost product quality monitoring and biosensing applications.


Dr. Vivek Subramanian co-founded Matrix Semiconductor, Inc., in 1998.  Since 1998, he has been at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.  His research interests include advanced CMOS devices and technology and polysilicon thin-film transistor technology for displays and vertical integration applications.  His current research focuses on organic electronics for display, low-cost logic, and sensing applications.  He has authored or co-authored more than 40 research publications and patents.

Dr. Subramanian is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and has served on the technical committee for the Device Research Conference and the International Electron Device Meeting. In 2002, he was nominated to Technology Review's list of top 100 young innovators (the TR100), and his work at Matrix Semiconductor was nominated to the Scientific American SA50 list for visionary technology. In 2003, he was nominated to the National Academy of Engineering's "Frontiers of Engineering," and was awarded a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award (CAREER).

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