IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA Award Winners Announced
This week the IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA event opened to more than 900 attendees from 28 countries - by far the World's largest event on the topic. Held in San Jose, CA, the event featured more end users than ever before and grew by almost 25% compared to the same event in 2008.
The event featured the annual IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA Awards ceremony, aimed to recognize outstanding achievement. The judges were an international impartial panel of experts as follows:
- Dr Vivek Subramanian, University of California, US
- Mr Steven Novack, Idaho National Laboratory, US
- Prof Bill Milne, Cambridge University, UK
- Dr Peter Harrop, IDTechEx, UK
- Dr Moritz Riede, Institute of Applied Photo Physics, Germany
The categories and winners are:
Best Technical Development Materials Award
Hitachi Chemical, Japan, won this award for development of an inkjet printable low temperature sintering copper ink. Reliability is one of the most important properties for the electronics packaging materials but silver is hard to apply in this field because of the electro-migration and cost. If the sintering temperature of copper materials is low, many substrate films such as PEN, PET and so on can be used. Hitachi Chemical have developed an inkjet printed copper ink, sintering temperature below 180 Degrees Celsius, resistivity below 0.1 micro ohm meter (around 5 times higher of bulk copper) and with the same level of reliability as copper foil.
Hitachi Chemical report, "Our copper ink is necessary to pass the reduction process, because the surface of the copper nano-particles are oxidized. The reason of the oxidation is that we don't use any surfactants for the stability of dispersion. Because our copper nano-particles are not covered with surfactants which act as anti-oxidation of the copper nano-particles, it is not necessary for our copper ink to pass the high temperature treatment to remove the surfactants. According to the test results, the lowest volume resistivity, after reduction, of the copper ink was 0.04 micro ohm m, around 2.5 times higher than bulk copper. And, the reliability was as same as the copper foil by HAST, Highly Accelerated Stress Test, and water drop test, which was far from silver ink."
Best Technical Development Manufacturing Award
Kent Displays won this award for its new roll to roll flexible LCD manufacturing line. Founded in 1993, Kent Displays has primarily designed monochromatic, glass cholesteric LCDs for portable, batterypowered devices. Glass display manufacturing is based on semiconductor processes, which is fundamentally a batch process. The reflective, bi-stable properties of Kent Displays' glass LCDs led to development efforts on plastic substrates. A custom-designed, multi-million dollar roll-to-roll line was installed in Kent, Ohio, USA in 2008. The first of its kind for manufacturing reflective, flexible LCDs, the line is fully operational with capacity to meet expected demand for three product lines (Reflex™ Electronic Skins, Writing Tablets and eCard Displays) through 2010.
The manufacturability of flexible displays utilizing the roll-to-roll line is an intricate process with many codependent elements that need to be synchronized and controlled. These elements include substrate thickness, roll width, lamination method, display type, display size, volume, line speed, curing rate, coating methods, and electronic bonding.
Kent Displays states, "Display integrity and yields for many of the flexible LCDs produced on the line have reached initial profitability targets and met customer requirements. Foremost of these are Reflex LCD Writing Tablets. Initially produced using sheet-based, batch production methods, they are now exclusively manufactured on the roll-to-roll line. Without the roll-to-roll process, LCD writing tablets would not be commercially viable. The batch process cannot meet the volume requirements of the mass market. It is labor intensive and much slower."
Best New Product Development Award
Milone Technologies won this award for its new eSensor fluid level strip. Typical fluid level sensing mechanisms include winding a coil down an enclosure then reeling it back up to see the fluid level, or small buoys which float on the fluid and track the level. Milone Technologies has developed and now commercialized a fully printed, thin, lightweight and flexible fluid sensor.
The "eTape" sensor consists of printed conductors on two substrates which are combined and separated by a thin membrane. This "envelope" is compressed by the hydrostatic pressure of the fluid in which it is immersed resulting in a change in resistance which corresponds to the distance from the top of the sensor to the fluid surface. The sensor provides a resistive output that is inversely proportional to the level of the liquid i.e. the lower the liquid level, the higher the output resistance. The output is so easy to read that it can be easily customized for different applications, either wired sensors or even wireless versions if connected to a wireless radio.
It can be used as a fluid sensor for measuring levels in water, non corrosive water based liquids and dry fluids (powders). The sensor can be manufactured in custom lengths to fit any application. Indeed, it can be manufactured in continuous lengths then cut to size. Applications that Milone is targeting include fluid sensors for barrels and other containers, car fluid sensors, water level indicators for high end coffee makers and in the medical area sensors in disposable IV bags which alert when the level is getting too low. The sensors are available for purchase now: see www.milonetech.com for details.
The IDTechEx Academic Award is given to CENIMAT/FCT-UNL for development of Paper-e®. Paper-e® is an innovative and disruptive eco-efficient technology that resulted in the first paper transistor as well as the first paper memory. This technology has been developed for applying field effect transistors (FET) ON and WITH paper as well as non-volatile memory paper transistors based on the gate floating concept, where the active materials deposited on both sides of the paper sheet are at the most one hundred nanometers thick.
This technology makes use of natural cellulose paper fibers (from renewable resources) simultaneously as substrate and discrete or continuous dielectric in n-type memory field effect transistors. The proposed devices are based on new multicomponent amorphous metal oxide used in Transparent Electronics. These semiconductor materials exhibit an amorphous structure (good for process integration) and will be processed by PVD techniques like RF-magnetron sputtering at room temperature, compatible with the use of low cost and flexible substrates like cellulose paper. After optimization CENIMAT/FCT-UNL will proceed by using a low cost ink-jet technology as well as new ink formulations based on inorganic semiconductors and conductors.
Paper- e® sees a new type of business on the horizon that uses traditional paper expertise in order to tackle a new era of the digital revolution with the creation of new Smart Media Products that never existed before with the possibility to be embedded into the environment. Besides that a special attention is paid to sustainability assessment regarding eco-efficient material processing, optimized recycling ability and biodegradability.
FUJIFILM Dimatix won the commercialization award for its hugely successful inkjet printer platform "DMP-2800". The company has sold more than 450 of these printers to organizations around the World to develop printed electronics devices. Sales of the unit have been fairly evenly split in Asia, the US and Europe. For many, the printer has been the default one of choice in inkjet printed electronics.
In addition, FUJIFILM Dimatix has just released a new printer, the DMP-3000 to complement the existing system, enabling transition from R&D to production. The printable area on the DMP-3000 is 300 by 300 mm with positional accuracy and repeatability over this area of ±5 μm and ±1 μm, respectively. Its heated vacuum platen supports printing on both rigid and flexible materials. Set at an acute angle to the nozzle plate, an integrated drop visualization system captures drop formation images dynamically as drop ejection parameters are established. A second camera, the nozzle inspection camera, is perpendicular to the nozzle plate to further enhance visualization. A third camera system allows substrate measurements and alignment, dynamic observations of drop drying behavior, drop measurement calculations and drop placement coordinates.
A huge congratulations to our winners. The next IDTechEx Printed Electronics Awards will be held at the following IDTechEx events in 2010:
• Printed Electronics Europe 2010, April 13-14, Dresden, Germany www.IDTechEx.com/peEurope
• Printed Electronics USA 2010, December 1-2, Santa Clara, CA, USA