A team of University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers has created the most functional flexible transistor in the world — and with it, a fast, simple and inexpensive fabrication process that’s easily scalable to the commercial level.
It’s an advance that could open the door to an increasingly interconnected world, enabling manufacturers to add “smart,” wireless capabilities to any number of large or small products or objects — like wearable sensors and computers for people and animals — that curve, bend, stretch and move.
Transistors are ubiquitous building blocks of modern electronics. The UW–Madison group’s advance is a twist on a two-decade-old industry standard: a BiCMOS (bipolar complementary metal oxide semiconductor) thin-film transistor, which combines two very different technologies — and speed, high current and low power dissipation in the form of heat and wasted energy — all on one surface.
As a result, these “mixed-signal” devices (with both analog and digital capabilities) deliver both brains and brawn and are the chip of choice for many of today’s portable electronic devices, including cellphones.
“The industry standard is very good,” says Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, the Lynn H. Matthias Professor and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in electrical and computer engineering at UW–Madison. “Now we can do the same things with our transistor — but it can bend.”
Ma is a world leader in high-frequency flexible electronics. He and his collaborators described their advance in the inaugural issue of the journal npj Flexible Electronics, published Sept. 27.
Making traditional BiCMOS flexible electronics is difficult, in part because the process takes several months and requires a multitude of delicate, high-temperature steps. Even a minor variation in temperature at any point could ruin all of the previous steps.
Ma and his collaborators fabricated their flexible electronics on a single-crystal silicon nanomembrane on a single bendable piece of plastic. The secret to their success is their unique process, which eliminates many steps and slashes both the time and cost of fabricating the transistors.
“In industry, they need to finish these in three months,” he says. “We finished it in a week.”
He says his group’s much simpler high-temperature process can scale to industry-level production right away.
“The key is that parameters are important,” he says. “One high-temperature step fixes everything — like glue. Now, we have more powerful mixed-signal tools. Basically, the idea is for flexible electronics to expand with this. The platform is getting bigger.”
The Latest on: Flexible electronics
- Critical communications component made on flexible wooden filmon June 26, 2020 at 12:07 am
Madison engineer leverages a surprising and inexpensive substance—wood—to make the flexible microwave circuits that po ...
- Flexible Battery Market Worth $296 Million by 2025on June 24, 2020 at 6:32 am
According to a new market research report "Flexible Battery Market with COVID-19 Update by Type (Thin-film, Printed), Voltage, Capacity, Rechargeability (Primary Batteries, Secondary Batteries), ...
- Using wood to develop flexible electronic componentson June 23, 2020 at 5:37 am
Madison are using wood to make flexible microwave circuits found in electronic devices for the purpose of developing flexible electronics. IEEE GlobalSpec websites place cookies on your device to give ...
- Critical communications component made on a flexible wooden filmon June 22, 2020 at 7:24 am
Madison engineer leverages a surprising and inexpensive substance — wood — to make the flexible microwave circuits that power modern communications.
- Global Printed and Flexible Electronics Market Size Analysis and Outlook to 2026 - ResearchAndMarkets.comon June 22, 2020 at 2:11 am
The "Printed and Flexible Electronics Global Market Size Analysis and Outlook to 2026 - Potential Opportunities, Companies and Forecasts for printing methods and components across End User Industries ...
- Flexible Battery Market Worth $296 Million by 2025 - Exclusive Report by MarketsandMarkets™on June 17, 2020 at 6:30 am
According to a new market research report "Flexible Battery Market with COVID-19 Update by Type (Thin-film, Printed), Voltage, ...
- Engineers advance insights on black phosphorus as a material for future ultra-low power flexible electronicson June 17, 2020 at 4:33 am
Black phosphorus is a crystalline material that is attracting growing research interest from semiconductor device engineers, chemists and material scientists to create high-quality atomically thin ...
- Pitt engineer maintains a laser focus to grow nanocarbons on flexible deviceson June 15, 2020 at 9:25 am
Pitt's Mostafa Bedewy is investigating a new scalable manufacturing method for creating customizable types of nanocarbons on-demand -- directly where they are needed -- on flexible materials.
- Thin Film Electronics ASA - Approved prospectus and start of subscription period in the Subsequent Offeringon June 12, 2020 at 6:29 pm
Reference is made to the stock exchange notice published by Thin Film Electronics ASA (the "Company" or “Thinfilm”) on 30 May 2020 regarding registration of the shares issued in the private placement ...
- The Air Force Bets on a Bright Future for Flexible Hybrid Electronicson June 12, 2020 at 4:58 pm
With the ability to conform to any shape, flexible hybrid electronics will animate devices with unprecedented spatial adaptability.
via Google News and Bing News