Flexible and stretchable collaboration
15 June 2011
First laser-structured PET-based stretchable circuitry
Holst Centre (an open-innovation initiative by imec and TNO) and the Centre of MicroSystems Technology (CMST), imec’s associated laboratory at Ghent University, have announced that they have joined forces on flexible and stretchable electronics.
The collaboration is an almost natural consequence of the complementary topics at the two research groups. Progress will be made in the integration of flexible and stretchable electronics, for example for applications in the fields of sensors, health, lighting and organic photovoltaics.
Over the previous years, CMST has built significant expertise in integration technologies for flexible and stretchable electronics with a focus on high density, high end PCB-type applications. Amongst the focus points of CMST are silicon chip embedding in polyimide stretchable electronics and textile integration.
The Holst Centre on the other hand has built-up significant competencies in the field of integration technologies for large area flexible electronics with an important focus on low cost PEN/PET substrates. Its main research topics involve silicon chip embedding in PEN/PET substrates and foil lamination and interconnection.
Demonstrator of CMST made using photodefinable polyimide and traditional PCB-technology
The formal collaboration between the two entities has the advantage that the full scope of integration technologies from high end to low cost is available for flexible and conformable applications. It allows choosing the best technology for the application.
One of the first fruitful outcomes of the collaboration has already become visible. CMST has a technology for making stretchable electronics based on meanders and embedding in PDMS rubber. Up to now, this technology has been based on photodefinable polyimide and traditional PCB-technology. Jointly, the technology is being transferred to large area electronics, laser structuring and low cost foils. This opens up the possibility of making stretchable OLED devices.
The top image shows the first laser-structured PET-based stretchable circuitry, whilst the second image is a demonstrator of CMST made using photodefinable polyimide and traditional PCB-technology.
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