Flexible electronics: silicon meets paper and beyond

J. Whitmarsh (ESL Europe, Reading, UK)

Microelectronics International

ISSN: 1356-5362

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To consider the various aspects of this emerging market and to query the traditional view of thick film deposition and processing for successful flexible electronic production.


The current status of flexible electronics is reviewed with particular emphasis on emerging rather than established technologies. New techniques and applications are also discussed. Material and processing developments are also required to meet the new challenges and current developments and future needs are discussed.


Mass production of flexible electronic circuits using processing techniques that are more akin to the newspaper printing industry is under way. Much development of both materials and processing is required but needs in the radio frequency identification, renewable energy and display markets among others justify the investment.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the wide range of new applications there is a lack of detail in this review that will necessitate further reading.

Practical implications

There will need to be a change of thinking in the processing and material choice used in mass production of flexible electronics by any large volume manufacturer of traditional circuits on rigid substrates. Existing, new materials need development for electrical characteristics and ease of use. New materials will undoubtedly be required.


This paper raises awareness and technical issues surrounding emerging technologies.



Whitmarsh, J. (2005), "Flexible electronics: silicon meets paper and beyond", Microelectronics International, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 16-19. https://doi.org/10.1108/13565360510610495

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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