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November 13th, 2007

Making flexible electronics

Laser- and nanoparticle-based processing methods enable high-resolution, maskless fabrication of inexpensive large-area flexible electronics on polymer substrates.

Manufacture of electric circuits on polymer substrates is broadly referred to as flexible electronics and has gained significant interest as a pathway to low-cost or large-area electronics. Although conventional vacuum deposition and photolithographic patterning methods are well developed for inorganic microelectronics, they are not appropriate for this application. Flexible polymer substrates are chemically incompatible with resists, etchants, and developers used in conventional integrated circuit (IC) processing. In practice, the usual IC fabrication processes involve multiple steps and high processing temperatures and produce toxic waste, all of which add to their cost. Furthermore, the increasing size of electronic devices such as displays poses great difficulty in adapting standard microfabrication techniques, including lithographic patterning.


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