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Novel process takes flexible electronics to new heights

Posted: 28 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:KAIST? flexible electronics? Inorganic-based Laser Lift-off? polymer?

Lending its potential to be used in next-generation electronics for applications such as consumer devices and bio-integrated medical tools, flexible electronics may be considered beneficially indispensable. However, in spite of all these prospects, a number of issues need to be addressed before these goals come to fruition.

Insufficient performance of organic materials arising from inherent material properties and processing limitations in scalability have posed big challenges to developing all-in-one flexible electronics systems in which display, processor, memory and energy devices are integrated. The high temperature processes, essential for high performance electronic devices, have severely restricted the development of flexible electronics because of the fundamental thermal instabilities of polymer materials.

A research team headed by Keon Jae Lee, professor at the department of materials science and engineering at KAIST has afforded an easier methodology to realise high performance flexible electronics by using the Inorganic-based Laser Lift-off (ILLO).

The ILLO process involves depositing a laser-reactive exfoliation layer on rigid substrates, and then fabricating ultrathin inorganic electronic devices, e.g., high density crossbar memristive memory on top of the exfoliation layer. By laser irradiation through the back of the substrate, only the ultrathin inorganic device layers are exfoliated from the substrate as a result of the reaction between laser and exfoliation layer, and then subsequently transferred onto any kind of receiver substrate such as plastic, paper and even fabric.

Flexible crossbar memory developed via the ILLO process

Flexible crossbar memory developed via the ILLO process

This ILLO process can enable not only nanoscale processes for high density flexible devices but also the high temperature process that was previously difficult to achieve on plastic substrates. The transferred device successfully demonstrates fully-functional random access memory operation on flexible substrates even under severe bending.

Lee said, "By selecting an optimised set of inorganic exfoliation layer and substrate, a nanoscale process at a high temperature of over 1000°C can be utilised for high performance flexible electronics. The ILLO process can be applied to diverse flexible electronics such as driving circuits for displays and inorganic-based energy devices such as battery, solar cell and self-powered devices that require high temperature processes."

Flexible RRAM device shown on a plastic substrate

Flexible RRAM device shown on a plastic substrate





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