Earlier in 2007, Michael Heckmeier, Research Director in charge of printed electronics at Merck KGaA, in Germany said improving the frequency performance will depend on the mobility of the semiconductors in the tag, mobility being a measure of how readily electrons move through a semiconductor. "We have nice mobilities that are realized in the lab. The big challenge is bringing them into the pilot plant and then to mass production," he said, adding that Merck is working with the Technical University of Darmstadt, in Germany, to develop inorganic semiconductor materials for printed electronics. "The potential is there to improve the mobility further," he says. "Maybe hybrid or inorganic printed systems could be better than a wholly organic system in the long run."
He said future generations of printable semiconductors won't necessarily be polythiophene-based or even organic. Now that work and the organic alternative has received a boost by German printing machine manufacturer, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG backing extra development at the University.
The researchers at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany will be focusing on printing processes for electronic and photovoltaic products whilst working towards developing technologies for printed electronics and 'functional packaging' over the next 3 years.
"We aim at a better understanding of the limitations of printing technology," explained Professor Edgar Doersam, manager of the institute for printing machines and printing processes at the university. "Our goal is developing new applications and techniques."
Challenges are layer thickness and resolution, both critical factors for electronics and photovoltaic applications. Doersam said he sees potential for future application of printing machines particularly in printed electronics and RFID technology.
At the launch of the project, a combined application of thermochrome dye and conducting lines was demonstrated. The thermochrome material changed its color if a voltage was applied.
For more attend Printed Electronics Europe 2008.