The area of printed electronics is one that is constantly evolving and with lots of room for innovation. With 2021 already underway, we want to share three of the most exciting technological advancements to keep an eye on in the year to come. Researchers at universities have already begun to get their hands on them. They span from new industry trends and technically advanced materials to completely new approaches.
Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE)
Flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) is one of the newest manufacturing trends. It brings together aspects of the electronics industry and that of the high-precision printing industry, making it the perfect combination for today’s market demand. With it, manufacturers can optimize what they’ve been doing already. Their sensors can now be lighter in weight and match the curves of a body (or any structure) more precisely, all while meeting the basic principles of electronic architecture. This new process makes it possible to create impressively thin and flexible silicon integrated circuits (ICs). So flexible, in fact, that it has one of the smallest bending radiuses ever seen!
Handling super thin silicon elements with high precision, using conductive and active inks as well as stretchable substrates, will completely redefine how electronics are used from now on. Wearable electronic devices that measure vitals, sensors that monitor commercial vehicles and security operations are just some of the many elements of the printed electronics industry that will be revolutionized for the better.
The advancements in OLED materials have been completely innovating the lighting industry, and as a result, will lead to major innovations in printed electronics (if they aren’t happening already). With OLED displays now being a $30 bn market, it’s the success story no one saw coming—and it’s not over. Improvements already started on emissive and host materials, with significant trends already emerging on material transitions and colour purity. The more complex it becomes, the more material informatics will follow.
Contrary to our everyday electronics that are based on inorganic semiconductors like silicon, organic electronics are all about carbon-based semiconductors. In the last decade, there have been major breakthroughs on the research and development front. Researchers from Chalmers University in Sweden have already discovered a way to double the electronic’s frequency, and researchers at The Australian University found a way to create electronic components with thin, bendable and more powerful organic material. Things are moving fast and it’s only the beginning of what great innovations can be achieved!
Printed electronics: the best is yet to come
It’s safe to say that our industry does not stop when it comes to research and development. The Covid-19 pandemic has already increased the demand for wearables and medical. These electronic innovations will no doubt be in high demand in the next couple of years!
At Memtronik, we love a challenge and look forward to taking them on. If you have a project that involves printed electronics, graphic overlays, membrane switches or capacitive switches, we’ll gladly provide you with an evaluation in 48 hours!