In the News

Breakthrough in Plastic Electronics Materials

EVANSTON, ILL. – A Northwestern University team of materials chemists are reporting a breakthrough in finding the right materials to produce cost-effective, high-performance plastic electronics such as electronic books, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, electronics for cell phones, PDAs, and laptop computers.

The team is led by Tobin J. Marks, a professor of chemistry, materials science, and engineering at Northwestern. Collaboratively, they have designed organic molecules that self-assemble into a <6-nm-thick, ultra-thin layer for use in the dielectric component of a transistor. Their molecular components reduce both operating voltage and power consumption in organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) structures, giving truth to low-power consumption OTFTs.

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“This means having plastic electronics the size of a pen battery, rather than an automobile battery, power your cell phone,” says Marks. “Instead of being carved out of silicon, transistor structures would be printed in a fashion similar to that of newspapers, but with organic molecules as the ink and plastic as the paper. Much as the New York Times prints a different edition of the newspaper every day, we could flexibly print a wide variety of electronic devices quickly, easily, and cheaply.”

Marks and Antonio Facchetti, research professor of chemistry, and Myung-Han Yoon, a graduate student in chemistry, demonstrated that their new nanodielectric multilayers have high capacitances and insulating properties and show compatibility with various organic semiconductors and substrate materials.

-Lee Mather

Binghamton’s ‘CAMM’ is Expected to Speed Microelectronics Manufacturing R&D

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Earlier this year, Binghamton University was awarded a contract from the U.S. Display Consortium (USDC) to establish and operate the Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM). It’s located at Endicott Interconnect Technologies in Endicott, N.Y. The new center is expected to speed microelectronics manufacturing research and development in a roll-to-roll (R2R) format, meaning that components can be produced more efficiently, at higher yields, and at a lower cost through reduced material handling and increased throughput with a continuous web process. Directed by Dr. Bahgat Sammakia, professor of mechanical engineering and director of Binghamton’s Integrated Electronics Engineering Center and Small Scale Systems Packaging Center, the CAMM is evaluating equipment and materials developed with the support of the USDC, the industry, and its own R&D program.

“Binghamton’s Small Scale Systems Packaging Center, established in 2004, focuses on cutting-edge research into the nature of materials and products at small scales, with the goal of developing and evaluating new materials, products, and processes for a variety of micro- and nano-electronics applications,” explains Sammakia. “The partnership with the USDC, Endicott Interconnect Technologies, Cornell University, and others to form the CAMM is an exciting opportunity for the Small Scale Systems Packaging Center. The CAMM represents the nation’s premier R2R electronics prototype manufacturing line, and holds the potential for significant advances in electronics R&D for the near future.”

The CAMM is working with the U.S. Army-funded Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.) on display-related R&D to focus on process development and pilot production of flexible backplanes and displays for the Army’s platforms and commercial applications. Development of higher-efficiency manufacturing platforms and manufacturing processes and materials necessary to meet the needs of electronic devices in flexible end products are also being addressed.

“USDC is working closely with Binghamton University as it develops the full technical and business plans for the CAMM,” says Michael Ciesinski, USDC president. “The technical plan will underpin the University’s R&D efforts to enable microelectronics manufacturing on a web process. USDC expects an initial tool delivery to the CAMM this summer, and we are helping the center identify future equipment requirements. Needed funding and industry recruitment will be key elements of the business plan. Consequently, USDC intends to be very active in supporting the University with its industry outreach.”

-Lee Mather


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