The Truly Integrated Circuit Is Printed and Flexible
Also newly arrived is the Paper-e of the New University of Lisbon, which is an inspired way of printing transistor circuits by making the gate of the transistor the paper substrate itself.
Interestingly, these transistors, made with the superior, new zinc oxide based printed semiconductors, have much better characteristics than one would expect at first sight and the physics of this is currently being clarified. Needless to say, all the above smart papers for printed electronics can be environmental and biodegradable.
Printed smart shelf
Plastic Electronic GmbH in Austria specialises in capacitive printed electronic structures. For example, its smart shelf consists of polymer film that deforms when things are placed on it and the crossbar conductive patterns on both sides monitor the change in capacitance and thus the position and relative weight of what is on the shelf.
Now NTERA, Inc., a leader in all-printed, flexible, colour change display technologies, and Plastic Electronic GmbH, have entered into a license agreement to develop advanced printed electronics products using NTERA's flexible printed electrochromic displays.
Piezo flags and eels
Polyvinylidene difluoride PVDF and its derivatives are made into ferroelectric ink used to print non- volatile rewritable random access memory on flexible film. It can also form a film itself that acts as a smart substrate for printed electronics, examples being electret microphones and energy harvesting "flags" and, under the water, energy harvesting "eels".
Barrier layers to protect delicate printed organic photovoltaic and OLED displays are receiving close attention. Hugely improved barrier layer substrate film is announced by DNP & 3M Display & Graphics Business Lab and companies such as DELO are developing barrier adhesives and inks to go over the patterns printed on these barrier films and to seal encapsulation.
Edible and transparent electronics
Edible printed electronics from Eastman Kodak and Somark Innovations is initially intended to be applied directly to food, pharmaceutical tablets and meat but edible substrates will also be needed, preferably leveraging the electronic functions. Then there is the new discipline of transparent electronics being pursued by Hewlett Packard, Cambridge University in the UK and Fraunhofer ISC in Germany for example.