Founded in 2008 by four technology centres working in the printed electronics field, the PEC4 group has now become a cluster formed by the technology centre CETEMMSA, the National Microelectronics Centre (IMB-CNM) belonging to the Higher Science Research Council (CSIC), the Research Centre for Ambient Intelligence and Accessibility of Catalonia (CAIAC) and the Metamaterials Research Centre for Innovation in Electronic and Communication Technologies (CIMITEC) - both at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) -, and the UAB's Research Trust.
The cluster has been set up to drive this technology forward and draw in other business organisations involved in innovation and knowledge transfer, such as the UAB Research Park, the electronics industry association SECARTYS and the Association of Graphics and Communication Industries of Catalonia, to join the technology centres already mentioned.
Printed electronics is a new, revolutionary form of electronics. It enables electronic and photonic devices to be printed by means of the normal techniques employed in graphic arts, such as serigraphy and inkjet, except that in this case conductive inks, insulation and semi-conductors are used. The development of processes using these techniques will allow the electronic components found in conventional circuits, such as photovoltaic cells, batteries, OLEDs and sensors, to be printed on a wide range of supports, from plastic to paper.
This technique opens up the possibility of new applications, including flexible screens, smart labels and packaging, dynamic decorative posters and upholstery capable of providing light or acting as a sensor. In addition, employing printing technology to make electronic devices has the advantage of helping to considerably reduce manufacturing costs, since it does not need a white room like in microelectronics and once you have the design from the engineering company, all you have to do is mass-print it (single sheets or rotary press) on your chosen support, thereby cutting production time and costs. The printed materials are generally very thin, lightweight and flexible, and can be included in printed product production lines.
Between them the members of the PEC4 group cover the different aspects of printed electronics. To begin with they are concentrating on developing printed sensors for biomedical applications, luminescent devices on textiles and flexible solar cells in smart environments.
In addition to its members, PEC4 is supported by ACC1Ó (the Catalan agency for innovation and technology transfer) and participates in the Organic Electronics Association and the European project Commercialising Organic and Large Area Electronics (COLAE).
CETEMMSA is a technology centre with particular expertise in the treatment of flexible surfaces in the field of Printed Electronics to obtain smart devices with an outstanding track record of more than 20 years.
Certified and approved by government agencies, it forms part of the Catalan autonomous government's TECNIO network and is one of six advanced technology centres in Catalonia. Its goal is to improve companies' competitiveness and help them through product innovation.
CETEMMSA's activity focuses on research and development of smart devices by treating flexible surfaces with the capacity to bring new utilities to various economic sectors such as health and well-being, automotive and transport, professional sports, security and protection, packaging, architecture and construction, technical textiles among others.
CETEMMSA Technology Centre is part of the Science Park and Innovation TecnoCampus Mataró-Maresme and has a facility of 2,800 m2 and has 85 professionals.
All the latest information about the specialist research carried out by CETEMMSA, the projects the technology centre works on, its professionals and the different fields of application of the innovations to products is available on the website www.cetemmsa.com .
For more information attend Printed Electronics Asia in Tokyo, Japan on October 2-3 - the key event to learn and network with the leaders in printed electronics in Asia. See Printed Electronics Asia, October 2-3, 2012 to register early for the best savings.