LONDON Inkjet printhead manufacturer Xaar plc and polymer memory developer Thin Film Electronics ASA have strengthened their collaboration with the signing of an agreement to develop industrial inkjet methods and processes that can be used for producing printed memory applications in high volume.
Xaar (Cambridge, England) and Thin Film Electronics (Oslo, Norway) provided a demonstration of printed ferroelectric polymer memory with arrays of up to 100 bits constructed using a line width of 220-microns, in April 2006. TFE and Xaar achieved a read/write endurance of 100,000 cycles on the demonstrator.
This was shortly after Thin Film Electronics (TFE) was spun off from Opticom ASA which had been cooperating on research into hybrid silicon-and-polymer multilayer memories with Intel Corp. Intel's termination of polymer memory research had been one stimulus to the restructuring of Opticom and TFE.
"Last year we demonstrated the world's first functional, fully printed memory together with Xaar. We will now in this joint effort prove our technology's manufacturability using industry standard ink-jet equipment for high volumes," said Johan Carlsson, chief executive officer of TFE, in a statement. "Furthermore, the collaboration with Xaar will open up new exciting opportunities for the printed electronics industry, including many long sought after applications such as RFID-based electronic product codes."
"As the printed electronics market continues to evolve and expand, we see numerous opportunities for products that include memory and with that we see a market need for our ink-jet solutions for production of printed electronics products in general," said Werner Zapka, head of Xaar's Advanced Applications Technology team, in the same statement.
Zapka said that Xaar planned to produce "thousands of product samples" at a manufacturing and development site in Jarfalla, Sweden.
No indication was given of the designs that would be sampled or of a timetable for the production of the samples. It was disclosed in April 2006 that the original demonstration unit was manufactured in Jarfalla although at that time Xaar and TFE left the identity of the owner of the manufacturing site anonymous.
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