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by Dr. Harry Zervos, Technical Analyst, IDTechEx
Printed Electronics are being developed by over 3,000 companies, universities and research institutes worldwide. Although a significant percentage of these developers are located in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan and South Korea, there's a lot of research effort in other countries also, even if the concentration of active companies active is lower. The two examples described below are the CSIRO in Australia and the A*Star-IMRE in Singapore.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
National Research Flagships are large-scale multidisciplinary research projects initiated by CSIRO in 2003. The flagships program is one of the largest scientific research endeavours ever undertaken in Australia, with the total investment to 2010-11 expected to be close to A$1.5 billion. The Future Manufacturing National Research Flagship's goal is to create new or significantly transform existing high value-adding, export-oriented sectors to improve the future competitiveness of Australian manufacturing delivering A$3 billion of impact by 2020.
The Flagship for Future Manufacturing, with a budget of A$36.2 million over four years, will: help existing high value segments of the manufacturing industry become more competitive in global supply chains:
- develop globally competitive medical products
- identify next generation fabricated devices
- capture value from nanotechnology for new materials
- develop new products and processes exhibiting low environmental footprint, and addressing CO2 and other emission targets.
The Future Manufacturing Flagship research themes are divided into three main categories and include biomedical manufacturing, cleantech and flexible electronics.
While Cleantech Manufacturing will support the growth of green jobs in the Australian manufacturing sector through the development of new products and processes, the flexible electronics theme will develop disruptive technologies and products such as photovoltaic cells and printable polymer electronics delivering outcomes in the energy, materials, health and environment domains.
Organic chemistry is the major focus with less emphasis on inorganic materials and their utilization in flexible electronic devices. At CSIRO, the scale-up facilities are equipped with temperature controlled reactors with capacities ranging from several litres up to 500 litres for polymer and precursor production.
Agency for Science, Technology and Research - Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (A*star-IMRE)
Researchers at IMRE are involved with extensive materials research and development to bring about the latest in innovation and technology. Materials research represents a vital platform for building Singapore's competitive advantage, particularly important for a country with a knowledge-based economy. IMRE is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
Research at IMRE revolves around solid-state lighting, atom technology, nanocomposites and organic photovoltaics. The institute is reaching across the borders of Singapore as it is involved in projects with partners throughout the rest of the world. For example, at a recent collaborative programme with the University of Cambridge in the UK and Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, IMRE researchers created metallic lines so thin and smooth that they can only be seen using powerful electron microscopes.
Also, Applied Ventures, the venture capital arm of US-based Applied Materials, has made a strategic investment in Tera-Barrier Films, an A*Star spin-off company. Tera-Barrier is developing substrates and transparent barrier films that can keep electronic devices safe from moisture and oxygen penetration, an important bottleneck in the development of long-life, flexible electronic devices. The company is confident that with the capital injection, it is well-poised to be a key player in the market for high-substrate barrier films.
Both the CSIRO and IMRE will be delivering presentations at IDTechEx Printed Electronics Asia 2010, taking place in Hong Kong on the 13th and 14th of October. Completing a truly global conference programme touching on as many aspects of printed electronics as possible, the conference will also include speakers from Hong Kong University, TOPPAN, adidas, Samsung and EInk.
For more information on the event, please visit www.idtechex.com/peasia
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Cara Van Heest
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