PORTLAND, Ore. Printing memory onto flexible plastic substrates has been demonstrated by partners Thin Film Electronics and InkTec Co. Ltd.
Based on a proprietary ferroelectric polymer jointly developed by Thin Film and Solvay Solexis SA (Brussels, Belgium), the printed memories made use of low-temperature, roll-to-roll production equipment that could lower the cost of making semiconductor memory.
"Printed memory is one of the missing parts of the printed electronics toolkit," said Peter Harrop, chairman of IDTechEx Ltd. (Cambridge, U.K.).
The joint development effort claims to have produced memories using 200-nm thin films in five printing steps. Also used are batches of flexible polymers 100 meters long with yields up to 97 percent. Thin Film, a Norwegian-Swedish company, previously demonstrated 512-megabit flexible memories using 0.25-micron silicon inks. It did not specify the size of their current memories produced with InkTec (Gyeonggi-do, South Korea).
The companies claimed partnerships with a variety of vendors who have pledged to bring the plastic memory technology to market by 2010, in applications including smart RFID tags, flexible transparent batteries, plastic solar cells, flexible photovoltaic, lighting panels and thin-film transistors, memory and logic circuitry.
InkTec is currently operating three roll-to-roll fabrication lines, each equipped with screen, gravure and flexo-printing stations as well as a microgravure coating station. The lines are producing components as well as complete flexible pc-boards with integrated antennas for RFIDs, smart cards, textiles and packaging with integrated electronics.