Flexible Hybrid Electronics: Towards Thin Flexible ICs and Printed Logic and Memory
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Printed logic continues to struggle to deliver the required mobility, stability, and size performance, limiting what printed electronics could offer. However, now ultra-thin and flexible ICs with very high capability levels are being formed, enabling flexible hybrid electronics. This is a very exciting field. Indeed, this technological development can unlock the true potential of printed, flexible electronics!
Printed thin film transistors have come a long way, overcoming many material and printing challenges along the way. However, they still do not offer sufficient performance in small areas. Despite this, they remain promising approach for large-area flexible R2R films.
In parallel to printed TFTs, thin flexible ICs are being developed. These are either based on thinned out ICs or are based on a natively thin approach. In the former case, the technology can achieve Bluetooth, integrated ADCs, etc. In the latter case, the cost of production can be particularly low, probably as the photolithographic node utilized is old and thus low cost. In both cases, tremendous progress is made.
The ability to integrate truly flexible ICs onto flexible substrate, especially if it can be done R2R using a rapid transfer process, opens many new possibilities.
In parallel, a mising component has long been printed memory. Companies tried to produce organic R2R printed memory for years, but in the end commercial success proved elusive. However, now, new players are developing novel printed memories, seeking to overcome the old challenges and shortcomings.
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