Singapore is a small country but it has nurtured high technology businesses very successfully. Collaboration between the Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore who develop memory technology and the National University of Singapore, produced dynamic random access memory (DRAM) storage, based on a polymer in 2006. The same team had earlier produced flash memory and write-once read-many-times (WORM) memory based on polymers.
The '0' and '1' signals in this polymer-based memory were stored as high and low conductivity. A special copolymer was produced consisting of long molecular chains made of two different components finely tuned to one another. The polymer was embedded as a thin film between two electrodes. Initially in the off state it is characterized by low conductivity. A barrier hinders the flow of electrons through the film. In order to write to the memory, low voltage above a threshold (-2.8V) is required to switch the copolymer into a highly conducting state -the 'on' state.
The memory is read with voltage pulses below the threshold and the device works on the principle of a barrier and a 'pit trap' for charge carriers.
An opposing voltage pulse above +3.5V returns the memory to the original off state with empty traps. Renewed application of more than -2.8V returns the memory to its writeable state.
By contrast, Nanyang Technological University studies sensors, organic transistors and the integration of printed electronics into products. Researchers have developed an interactive vibration sensor jacket that can transmit a sense of touch over the internet. Only four bytes per second are required. Later versions will transmit heat as well. Initially tested on chickens, it gives the animal the feeling of being touched and comforted. The University also speculates that it can be used for absent parents to give children the illusion of being hugged.
The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology is advancing OLED technology
To establish an LCD and OLED development centre to feed manufacture into China, Hyundai of Korea teamed up with the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and Hong Kong based venture capitalist IMC Capital Corporation, in October 2005.
SIMTech will provide R&D expertise while IMC will provide business know-how, financial support and advice and access to its Asian business network. Investment will be $15 million over three years and 30 employees have been recruited. Initial focus was on display manufacturing technologies, including passive matrix OLEDs (PMOLEDs), active matrix OLEDs (AMOLEDs) and flexible OLEDs for mobile devices and cars.
Hyundai and IMC are both connected in the OLED business through partnerships with Canadian firm Luxell. IMC is also backing OLED display manufacturing in China with an unspecified local partner.
Dr Lim Ser Yong, Acting Executive Director of SIMTech said "The collaboration will bring new impetus to the development of the display industry in Singapore. By leveraging on the capabilities established in SIMTech and other A*STAR Research Institutes, we are ready to spearhead the next stage of development and commercialisation of high performance OLED devices for the fast growing markets."
Mr Soo Woon Youn, Hyundai LCD's Chairman enthused "I believe the collaboration between SIMTech and Hyundai LCD will provide opportunities for both partners to utilise core technologies, and process know-how more efficiently through this partnership between a R&D institute and a commercial manufacturer in the flat panel display industry. The collaboration also paves the way for us to start up a new value generation of display business in Singapore, considering the market perspectives toward South East and Middle East Asia."
For more read Printed Electronics in East Asia
Source Top Image: www.coe.berkeley.edu
Microscope image of an organic thin film transistor sensor