Terepac Corporation, poised to become the world's leader in miniaturizing microelectronics, has begun shipping samples of its ultra thin, flexible, silicon-based products to selected customers from its plant in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, CEO Ric Asselstine announced recently.
Following four years of development by a tightly integrated R&D team of PhD scientists and industry-seasoned engineers, the company is now entering into pilot scale production of Microscale Circuit Cluster™ products which offer customers all the advantages of a printed structure but with the electrical performance they have come to expect from nanostructured silicon integrated circuits, in a package of unprecedented elegance, compactness, ruggedness and low cost.
As a result of the industry's achievements as embodied in Moore's Law, the foundry fabrication cost of the ~40,000 digital transistors in an EPC Class 1 Gen 2 RFID chip is less than 0.2. using now-common 90 nm lithography, while they occupy a square about 175 micrometers on a side or roughly half the size of the period at the end of this sentence. In the past, product assembly equipment could not handle such vanishingly small objects, but Terepac's roll-to-roll printing technology eliminates that bottleneck. Since the lower limit is projected to be in the micron regime, a path is opened to the effective use of a huge array of very inexpensive yet functionally powerful electronic devices.
Terepac is beginning with basic HF/NFC and UHF embedded electronic products, and has signed agreements with two customers. It will progress quickly into wirelessly networked sensors, where its unique ability to assemble several components into one inexpensive unit will dramatically alter this market: individual customer requirements for specific microprocessors, memory and signal conditioning no longer require redesign of a system-on-chip solution.
The company has signed a collaboration contract with a major research institute to fabricate and commercialize a flexible medical monitoring system, and company CTO Dr. Jayna Sheats will present an invited technical update at the IMAPS RF and Microwave Packaging Conference in San Diego, September 22-24.
Joseph Fjelstad, president of Verdant Electronics, and newly appointed member of the Terepac Technical Advisory Board, commented, "The handling of micro-thin, small form factor ICs such as those desired for RFID applications has remained a vexing technological hurdle for the electronics assembly industry. In response, Terepac scientists and engineers have developed a novel and extremely powerful approach for handling such devices in a highly efficient and practical way. Their technology is well positioned to alter the future of micro assembly, in that the company has devised materials and methods to fundamentally take the 'pick' out of 'pick and place'. While its implications at the micro assembly level are clear and far reaching, it seems evident that it should find broader interest and use in the world of macro electronic assembly as well. It is an honor and privilege to engage with the visionary and innovative team at Terepac."
Dr. Yoshio Nishi, advisory board member and professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University added, "I am very favorably impressed with the technology developed by Terepac and its potential for future products, which would make use of integrated circuit technology in a different way from current practice. It is clear that this would represent a major new paradigm for the industry, and I am looking forward to working with them in achieving circuit designs which best use these innovations."
CEO Ric Asselstine summarized, "To come out of stealth mode with this kind of partner, commercial and funding momentum is a testimony to the impact of the technology and the dedication of our 'born global' team, and even more so in the present economic climate. As we have delivered on the promise of Terepac's proprietary technology, enabling unprecedented density and adaptability in microelectronic and sensor packaging, the number and quality of industrial partnerships has mushroomed. We expect to see numerous commercial objectives realized in a visible fashion over the coming months. The disruption is underway."
Terepac Corp., a privately held emerging technology company in Waterloo, Ontario, has developed a system for transfer printing electronic components of any lateral size and thinness down to microns or below, at high speeds and accuracy.
With costs far below any competing technique and no sacrifice in performance, this platform technology introduces revolutionary advances in assembly and packaging of micro and nanoelectronics.
Ubiquitously deployed real time location systems, wireless sensors, RFID tags and embedded electronics products will provide the input to a Microelectronic Nervous System™ (MNS), a Terepac-enabled network which reports not only an object's location but also its condition, creating a uniquely powerful tool for economic competitiveness, quality of life and sustainability.
For more information please visit www.terepac.com .