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Paper Electronics to be Addressed at Printed Electronics USA Conference

November 4, 2010
SANTA CLARA, CA—Nov. 4, 2010—The largest event in the world on the subject, Printed Electronics USA 2010 (Dec. 1-2 in Santa Clara, CA) will once again have a growing minority of presentations on paper electronics. This is the printing of electronics and electrics on or in paper. It is not to be confused with “electronic paper,” which is invariably plastic but replaces conventional printing on paper. 

Indeed, today, most printed electronics takes place on high-grade polyester film because most of the processes require very clean, flat surfaces. However, a high proportion of the products targeted are currently made of paper—from magazines and healthcare disposables to packaging and posters.

Printed Electronics USA has major users of printed paper such as JC Decaux in billboards, MWV Packaging and Crayola in children’s drawing equipment and toys presenting what they need and what they are doing so far.

Smart packaging

Relevant work on printed sensors for smart packaging that is taking place at the University of California at Berkeley will be presented, as will the printed electronic paper cards and packaging of Printechnologics in Germany. Information Mediary Corporation of Canada, famous for its compliance monitoring blisterpacks for medicine that use paper and plastic, announces new printed electronics for smart packaging. 

Cubic and Kovio will cover printed electronics on plastic film that is then embedded in paper tickets and Isiqiri Interface Technologies of Germany covers large area photosensors for man-machine interfaces. Dublin City University in Ireland presents on electrochemical and bio sensors in smart systems.

Bayer of Germany covers its electroactive polymer haptic touch keyboards made with flexible printed electrodes. These can be embedded in paper products, high performance conformal electronics being covered by MC10 Inc.    

Commercial products

There is an increasing interest in printing electronics on and in paper and commercial products have appeared, such as the millions of paper gaming cards that interface with computers and mobile phones and the disposable electric skin patches that send in cosmetics using a printed paper battery and electrodes.

Intrinsiq and Novacentrix can now print copper patterns on paper with a considerable potential saving in cost over silver for antennas, electrodes, sensors, switches, keyboards, conductors and metamaterials. The University of Helsinki has developed its own versions.

Previously, printed copper would oxidise and become insulating and useless. Printed copper has a huge future but it will not replace all silver because it is not allowed in contact with food in marketed products, it can become electrochemically active and it poisons OLED displays, for example.


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