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Abstract

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Microelectronics International, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-5362

Article
Publication date: 14 March 2018

Alaaldeen Al-Halhouli, Hala Qitouqa, Abdallah Alashqar and Jumana Abu-Khalaf

This review paper aims to introduce the inkjet printing as a tool for fabrication of flexible/wearable sensors. It summarizes inkjet printing techniques including various modes of…

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Abstract

Purpose

This review paper aims to introduce the inkjet printing as a tool for fabrication of flexible/wearable sensors. It summarizes inkjet printing techniques including various modes of operation, commonly used substrates and inks, commercially available inkjet printers and variables affecting the printing process. More focus is on the drop-on-demand printing mode, a strongly considered printing technique for patterning conductive lines on flexible and stretchable substrates. As inkjet-printed patterns are influenced by various variables related to its conductivity, resistivity, durability and dimensions of printed patterns, the main printing parameters (e.g. printing multilayers, inks sintering, surface treatment, cartridge specifications and printing process parameters) are reported. The embedded approaches of adding electronic components (e.g. surface-mounted and optoelectronic devices) to the stretchable circuit are also included.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, inkjet printing techniques for fabrication of flexible/stretchable circuits will be reviewed. Specifically, the various modes of operation, commonly used substrates and inks and variables affecting the printing process will be presented. Next, examples of inkjet-printed electronic devices will be demonstrated. These devices will be compared to their rigid counterpart in terms of ease of implementation and electrical behavior for wearable sensor applications. Finally, a summary of key findings and future research opportunities will be presented.

Findings

In conclusion, it is evident that the technology of inkjet printing is becoming a competitor to traditional lithography fabrication techniques, as it has the advantage of being low cost and less complex. In particular, this technique has demonstrated great capabilities in the area of flexible/stretchable electronics and sensors. Various inkjet printing methods have been presented with emphasis on their principle of operation and their commercial availability. In addition, the components of a general inkjet printing process have been discussed in details. Several factors affect the resulting printed patterns in terms of conductivity, resistivity, durability and geometry.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on flexible/stretchable optoelectronic devices which could be implemented in stretchable circuits. Furthermore, the importance and challenges related to printing highly conductive and highly stretchable lines, as well as reliable electronic devices, and interfacing them with external circuitry for power transmission, data acquisition and signal conditioning have been highlighted and discussed. Although several fabrication techniques have been recently developed to allow patterning conductive lines on a rubber substrate, the fabrication of fully stretchable wearable sensors remains limited which needs future research in this area for the advancement of wearable sensors.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 August 2008

W. Christiaens, T. Loeher, B. Pahl, M. Feil, B. Vandevelde and J. Vanfleteren

The purpose of this paper is to present results from the EC funded project SHIFT (Smart High Integration Flex Technologies) on the embedding in and the assembly on flex substrates…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present results from the EC funded project SHIFT (Smart High Integration Flex Technologies) on the embedding in and the assembly on flex substrates of ultrathin chips.

Design/methodology/approach

Methods to embed chips in flex include flip‐chip assembly and subsequent lamination, or the construction of a separate ultra‐thin chip package (UTCP) using spin‐on polyimides and thin‐film metallisation technology. Thinning and separation of the chips is done using a “dicing‐by‐thinning” method.

Findings

The feasibility of both chip embedding methods has been demonstrated, as well as that of the chip thinning method. Lamination of four layers of flex with ultrathin chips could be achieved without chip breakage. The UTCP technology results in a 60 μm package where also the 20 μm thick chip is bendable.

Research limitations/implications

Further development work includes reliability testing, embedding of the UTCP in conventional flex, and construction of functional demonstrators using the developed technologies.

Originality/value

Thinning down silicon chips to thicknesses of 25 μm and lower is an innovative technology, as well as assembly and embedding of these chips in flexible substrates.

Details

Circuit World, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-6120

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 November 2012

Jan Vanfleteren, Thomas Loeher, Mario Gonzalez, Frederick Bossuyt, Thomas Vervust, Ingrid De Wolf and Michal Jablonski

In the past 15 years stretchable electronic circuits have emerged as a new technology in the domain of assembly, interconnections and sensor circuits and assembly technologies. In…

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Abstract

Purpose

In the past 15 years stretchable electronic circuits have emerged as a new technology in the domain of assembly, interconnections and sensor circuits and assembly technologies. In the meantime a wide variety of processes with the use of many different materials have been explored in this new field. The purpose of the current contribution is for the authors to present an approach for stretchable circuits which is inspired by conventional rigid and flexible printed circuit board (PCB) technology. Two variants of this technology are presented: stretchable circuit board (SCB) and stretchable mould interconnect (SMI).

Design/methodology/approach

Similarly as in PCB 17 or 35 μm thick sheets of electrodeposited or rolled‐annealed Cu are structured to form the conductive tracks, and off‐the‐shelf, standard packaged, rigid components are assembled on the Cu contact pads using lead‐free solder materials and reflow processes. Stretchability is obtained by shaping the Cu tracks not as straight lines, like in normal PCB design, but as horseshoe shaped meanders. Instead of rigid or flexible board materials, elastic materials, predominantly PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane), are used to embed the conductors and the components, thus serving as circuit carrier. The authors include some mechanical modeling and design considerations, aimed at the optimization of the build‐up and combination of elastic, flexible and rigid materials towards minimal stress and maximum mechanical reliability in the structures. Furthermore, details on the two production processes are given, reliability findings are summarised, and a number of functional demonstrators, realized with the technologies, are described.

Findings

Key conclusions of the work are that: supporting the metal meanders with a flexible carrier prior to embedding in an elastic substrate substantially increases the reliability under mechanical stress (cyclic uniaxial stretching) of the stretchable interconnect and the transition areas between rigid components and stretchable interconnects are the zones which are most sensitive to failure under mechanical stress. Careful design and technology implementation is necessary, providing a gradual transition from rigid to flexible to stretchable parts of the circuit.

Originality/value

Technologies for stretchable circuits, with the same level of similarity to standard PCB manufacturing and assembly, and thus with the same high potential for transfer to an industrial environment and for mass production, have not been shown before.

Details

Circuit World, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-6120

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 May 2024

Tudor George Alexandru, Diana Popescu, Stochioiu Constantin and Florin Baciu

The purpose of this study is to investigate the thermoforming process of 3D-printed parts made from polylactic acid (PLA) and explore its application in producing wrist-hand…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the thermoforming process of 3D-printed parts made from polylactic acid (PLA) and explore its application in producing wrist-hand orthoses. These orthoses were 3D printed flat, heated and molded to fit the patient’s hand. The advantages of such an approach include reduced production time and cost.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used both experimental and numerical methods to analyze the thermoforming process of PLA parts. Thermal and mechanical characteristics were determined at different temperatures and infill densities. An equivalent material model that considers infill within a print is proposed. Its practical use was proven using a coupled finite-element analysis model. The simulation strategy enabled a comparative analysis of the thermoforming behavior of orthoses with two designs by considering the combined impact of natural convection cooling and imposed structural loads.

Findings

The experimental results indicated that at 27°C and 35°C, the tensile specimens exhibited brittle failure irrespective of the infill density, whereas ductile behavior was observed at 45°C, 50°C and 55°C. The thermal conductivity of the material was found to be linearly related to the temperature of the specimen. Orthoses with circular open pockets required more time to complete the thermoforming process than those with hexagonal pockets. Hexagonal cutouts have a lower peak stress owing to the reduced reaction forces, resulting in a smoother thermoforming process.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the existing literature by specifically focusing on the thermoforming process of 3D-printed parts made from PLA. Experimental tests were conducted to gather thermal and mechanical data on specimens with two infill densities, and a finite-element model was developed to address the thermoforming process. These findings were applied to a comparative analysis of 3D-printed thermoformed wrist-hand orthoses that included open pockets with different designs, demonstrating the practical implications of this study’s outcomes.

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 November 2013

Liang Wang, Maarten Cauwe, Steven Brebels, Walter De Raedt and Jan Vanfleteren

Ultra-thin chip packaging (UTCP) is one of the flexible assembly technologies, by which thinned dies are encapsulated inside spin-coated dielectric films. For sake of higher…

Abstract

Purpose

Ultra-thin chip packaging (UTCP) is one of the flexible assembly technologies, by which thinned dies are encapsulated inside spin-coated dielectric films. For sake of higher density integration and bending stress suppression, two UTCPs can be stacked vertically. The purpose of this paper is to present an improved UTCP process flow to embed thinned chip in a symmetric dielectric sandwich for a flat topography. The UTCP flat top surface is suitable for metallization and further 3D stacking.

Design/methodology/approach

In the new process, a central photosensitive polyimide film is introduced, in which a cavity is made for the embedded chip. The cavity is defined by lithography using the chip itself as a photo-mask. In this way, the cavity size and position is self-aligned to the chip. The chip thickness is compensated by the surrounding central layer, and a UTCP with flat topography (flat UTCP) is realized after top dielectric deposition.

Findings

A batch of daisy chain test vehicles was produced. The feasibility of the process flow is verified by optical and electrical measurements. The result shows 100 percent yield, which is much better than previous work. A thermal humidity test showed no significant degradation of the flat UTCPs after 1,000 hours.

Originality/value

High yield fabrication of flat UTCP is first shown. An innovative self-alignment lithography step is introduced to make a cavity in dielectric for chip thickness compensation by using the chip itself as a photo-mask.

Details

Circuit World, vol. 39 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-6120

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 January 2010

Yung‐Yu Hsu, Mario Gonzalez, Frederick Bossuyt, Fabrice Axisa, Jan Vanfleteren, Bart Vandevelde and Ingrid de Wolf

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate electromechanical properties of a new stretchable interconnect design for “fine pitch” applications in stretchable electronics.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate electromechanical properties of a new stretchable interconnect design for “fine pitch” applications in stretchable electronics.

Design/methodology/approach

A patterned metal interconnect with a zigzag shape is adhered on an elastomeric substrate. In situ home‐built electromechanical measurement is carried out by the four‐probe technique. Finite element method is used to analyze the deformation behavior of a zigzag shape interconnect under uniaxial tensile loading.

Findings

The electrical resistance remains constant until metal breakdown at elongations beyond 40 percent. There is no significant local necking in either the transverse or the thickness direction at the metal breakdown area as shown by both scanning electron microscopy micrographs and resistance measurements. Micrographs and simulation results show that a debonding occurs due to the local twisting of a metal interconnect, out‐of‐plane peeling, and strain localized at the crest of a zigzag structure.

Originality/value

In this paper, the zigzag shape is, for the first time, proven as a promising design for stretchable interconnects, especially for fine pitch applications.

Details

Microelectronics International, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-5362

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 1998

Jo Lernout

A novel technology for a multichip module (MCM) on silicon is presented. The technology features the integration of a power and a ground plane, resulting in a five‐conductor layer…

231

Abstract

A novel technology for a multichip module (MCM) on silicon is presented. The technology features the integration of a power and a ground plane, resulting in a five‐conductor layer module, the use of the heavily (n+) doped Si as the ground plane for integrated decoupling capacitances, integrated low TCR NiCr resistors, low resistance (13mΩ per square) TiW/Cu/TiW metallisation, high quality PECVD oxynitride (SiON) insulation layers, which are optimised to a low stress content, and a new wet‐dry etch technique for the vias. The module is able to handle 200MHz clock frequencies and, when carefully designed, can also be used for opto‐electronic interconnections in the GHz range. A test module for DC and HF characterisation has been designed and produced. Preliminary test results are presented.

Details

Microelectronics International, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-5362

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 February 2009

Mario Gonzalez, Fabrice Axisa, Frederick Bossuyt, Yung‐Yu Hsu, Bart Vandevelde and Jan Vanfleteren

The purpose of this paper is to present an update on the progress of the design and reliability of stretchable interconnections for electronic circuits.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an update on the progress of the design and reliability of stretchable interconnections for electronic circuits.

Design/methodology/approach

Finite element modelling (FEM) is used to analyse the physical behaviour of stretchable interconnects under different loading conditions. The fatigue life of a copper interconnect embedded into a silicone matrix has been evaluated using the Coffin‐Manson relation and FEM.

Findings

The mechanical properties of the substrate and the design of the metal interconnection play an important role on the fatigue lifetime of circuit. In the case of copper embedded into a PDMS Sylgard 186, more than 2,500 tensile cycles have been observed for a periodic deformation of 10 per cent.

Research limitations/implications

Reliability results are limited and need further work to create a more accurate empirical model to estimate the lifetime of stretchable interconnections.

Originality/value

The combined use of FEM and experimental analysis enable a more reliable design of the stretchable metal interconnections. The proposed horseshoe design offers the benefit of reduced permanent damage during elongation.

Details

Circuit World, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-6120

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1990

Gwent Electronic Materials has won its third award under the Department of Trade and Industry's SMART competition scheme.

Abstract

Gwent Electronic Materials has won its third award under the Department of Trade and Industry's SMART competition scheme.

Details

Microelectronics International, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-5362

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