What Are You Doing This Summer?
What a turnout at 2017FLEX Japan last month! Our first annual FLEX Japan was met with great enthusiasm, gathered 250+ industry leaders, with 20+ demonstrations of products in the exhibit. We expect the same level of energy in Seoul for FLEX Korea at the end of this month.
FlexTech's RFP came to a close this month with 18 responses. The Technical Council is in the process of reviewing the proposals. Thank you to all who took the time to review the RFP and respond or pass along to interested parties.
The FlexTech team is putting the final touches to the annual FLEX Conference and exhibit coming up in Monterey, California. The hotel room block discounts expire on May 29, so register today to ensure onsite lodging.
Activity is also ramping up for our presence at the Sensors Expo (June 27-29 in San Jose) and the MedTech Workshop at SEMICON West (July 11-13 in San Francisco). In the Fall '17, find us in Cambridge, UK as FlexTech co-sponsors a workshop with OE-A on October 11-12 focused on "PE for Smart Packaging and IoT."
Will we see you at any of these conferences? Perhaps all? Let us know!
With our best wishes,
15-176 Flexible Dual-use Active Sensor Labels – ThinFilm Electronics
The ThinFilm Electronics development team in San Jose, CA are coming to completion on an $875,000 development effort that began in 2016 with FlexTech. The "flexible dual-use active sensor label" project included demonstration of a printed sensor label containing 3 types of sensors, an ADC printed IC, and NFC (near field communication) printed IC using the ThinFilm TFT (thin film transistor) technology. The incorporation of temperature (resistive), humidity (capacitive), and light (current) sensors and the mixed signal processing using printed ICs has represented a level of technical complexity not previously demonstrated.
TFT minimum geometries achieved with ThinFilm's proprietary printing process are 3-4 microns. The printed ICs are fabricated in a separate, higher-temperature, process and are then assembled with discretes and sensors in a one-step electrical and mechanical final assembly process on a flexible material or label.
Over the course of this project, printed NFC and 3-bit ADC chips were designed, simulated, fabricated, and fully characterized. Sensor elements were calibrated and repeatability was evaluated. After each component was tested, they were sequentially added to the system level verification with success.
System level verification continues with humidity sensor integration still in progress. Flexible labels assembled with temperature and light sensors have demonstrated good capability in initial bend tests down to ½ inch diameter bend. An Android app has been developed to display the sensor data and state for all 3 sensor labels. NFC tap onto sensor label initiates the data transfer to the mobile user.
In the next reporting period, we are expecting to see reliability tests with electrical tests to follow.
Research is sponsored by the Army Research Laboratory and was accomplished under Assistance Transaction Agreement Number W911NF-10-3-0001. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Army Research Laboratory or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation herein.
15-7 Sensor for Monitoring Human Biometric Parameters - Binghamton University
Binghamton University is leading a project in partnership with i3 Electronics, UC Berkeley and American Semiconductor in development of a wireless ECG (electrocardiography) patch with contact electrodes and a printed thermistor for skin temperature measurement on one side and the electronics and battery on the other side.In this quarter, the project team has initiated human trials with a lower-profile battery, electro-gel contact to Cu/Au electrodes, an elastomer mold-formed device cover (formed from a 3D printed mold), and secured in-place on the subject with medical tape. Improved operation was reported by moving some signal analytics from the host to the wearable device thereby saving power and theoretically improving signal integrity.In conjunction with a project led by Lockheed Martin, failure analysis of early electrical opens during bend testing lead to a re-design of the Cu trace geometry and Cu trace cracking has been resolved. However, this applied to only parts reflowed at lower temperatures ( ≤175°C). Higher reflow temperature assemblies (205°C) display what appears to be Cu trace lifting from the polyimide substrate which leads to Cu trace cracking in some cases later in bend testing.Investigation into optimal metallurgy for printed-ink to plated-circuit contacts, nickel dams were evaluated as a method to control ink to contact pad surface wetting and excessive ink spreading. It was determined that Ni dams were not necessary in the Au ink onto Cu or Au contact pad system. The Au plating over Cu did mitigate oxidation and blistering possibly mitigating any future reliability failures.
In addition to Cu/Au contact electrodes, capacitive electrodes have been developed which would eliminate the need for skin surface contact gel. High specific capacitance electrodes have been fabricated using atomic layer deposition of Al2O3/TiO2. A 2-fold improvement in dielectric constant was achieved.American Semiconductor has developed an application specific OpAmp for the Binghamton team ahead of schedule. This OpAmp will be evaluated on rigid PCB prototype test vehicles as development work continues.This material is based on research sponsored by Air Force Research Laboratory under agreement number F A8650-13-2-731 l. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of Air Force Research Laboratory or the U.S. Government.