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Enabling Scalable Manufacturing of Printed Flexible Hybrid Electronics

Speaker: John Yundt | Company: SunRay Scientific | Date: 12-13 October 2022 | Full Presentation

Advancements in the development of flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) technologies and materials continue to progress rapidly; however, reliable, high-volume manufacturing of complex FHE-based products remains elusive. This issue becomes even more into focus when the objective is for printable, wearable technologies. Due to the nature of the stresses applied during use, such stretchable devices are expected to be mechanically robust and sustain their electrical performance under high tensile strain. Most of these stretchable electronic devices are hybrid in nature, comprising both soft and rigid electronic components. Hence, robust and reliable electrical interconnections between these soft and rigid components is necessary to ensure proper functionality of the device. Interconnections between the electrically functional control systems and wearable e-textile materials have a variety of current, traditional methods, such as high pressure and high temperature Anisotropic Conductive Adhesives (ACA), solder, snap/cinch connections, and isotropic epoxy adhesives. Each of these electrical connections pose issues with the necessary material sets for wearables/e-textile materials. There are significant drawbacks related to mechanical and/or thermal damage during the connection process; poor mechanical adhesion; inability to connect standard-pitch functional devices; and lack of robustness when connecting to nonplanar surfaces seen in wearable technology. And additional challenges exist which limit the high-volume manufacturing of these products. SunRay Scientific will present recent results in the development of a novel anisotropic conductive adhesive, ZTACH® ACE, for high-volume surface mount assembly of electrical components, including those to by mounted/attached to flexible, stretchable, textiles in wearable applications.

ZTACH® ACE technology demonstrates superiority in achieving environmentally stable and mechanically robust electrical connections. For improved manufacturability, it allows for pressure-less assembly, low-temperature cure, excellent adhesion to various substrates, and fine pitch reliability without sacrificing contact resistance or mechanical bond integrity. Because ZTACH® ACE can act as its own underfill and edge encapsulant, the rigors of use in typical wearable applications on host substrates like textiles and TPU, do not experience the same types of failures alternate competing technologies would experience without the addition of underfill and/or encapsulation. In providing superior adhesion, low contact resistance, and mechanical robustness during electromechanical testing, ZTACH® ACE proves itself to be a reliable interconnect between stretchable to stretchable/flex/rigid materials with high electrical conductivity. This enables easier and lower cost manufacturing of more flexible and robust applications through integration of SMD components directly onto e-textiles, without additional laminated protective layers. As a result, flexible, wearable printed electronics can finally be integrated into a wider range of cost effective, reliable end use application.

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