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2019 2013-2019

Final Review


Welcome to the fifth, and final, report of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics (CIMLAE).

As we complete our planned programme of research, made possible by the financial support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), this report provides an opportunity to look back at what’s been achieved over the last 5 years and also to look forward to the future impact of the core research programme. This impact will be enhanced by the results of the many projects that continue to take forward the technology developed in the Centre beyond the completion of our core EPSRC funding in June 2019. In the following pages you’ll find an overview of our research, our outputs, our collaborations and the growth of our LAE academic and industrial community which is itself part of a global emerging industry. Our programme timeline on page 16 also shows the ongoing projects. We are hugely grateful to the 63 industrial partners who have collaborated with us on various joint projects during the life of the Centre and to all those who attended our various events including the innoLAE conference. Thank you for your support, interest and enthusiastic participation.

I would personally like to thank all our Co-Investigators and the postdoctoral researchers who have together made highly significant scientific and technological progress in the field of large-area electronics and whose expertise and innovation is so clearly evident throughout this report. Finally, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to my colleagues in the CIMLAE Office who have excellently facilitated everything that we’ve done as a Centre: to Donata, Vika, Cara, Luigi and Mark. It has been a pleasure to work with you all.

Chris Rider Director, EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics


Executive summary

2

Introduction to large-area electronics

6

About us

10

Technical programme

12

Industry interaction and impact

14

iPESS – Integration of printed electronics with silicon for smart sensor systems

18

Scaling up emerging LAE technology from an academic laboratory

21

Industrial impact from the iPESS project

22

SIPEM – System integration for plastic electronics manufacturing

24

P CAR – Printing process control through advanced rheometry

26

Haydale and the P CAR project

28

PLANALITH – Plastic nanoelectronics by adhesion lithography

30

PHISTLES – Platform for high speed testing of large-area electronic systems

32

Flexipower – Printable components for RF energy harvesting systems

33

PragmatIC collaborations

34

pNeuron – Printed electronics for neuromorphic computing

35

PASMOMA – Patterning strategies for integration of multifunctional organic materials

36

Stable nanowires – Spray coated nanowires with enhanced stability

37

2

2

ITAPPE – Interconnection technologies for integration of active devices with printed plastic electronics 38 ITAPPE workshop

40

FlexEn – Flexible printed energy storage

41

MFBBN – Multiphoton fabrication of bioelectronic biomaterials for neuromodulation

42

OPCAP – Offset lithographic printing of nanocomposite barium titanate capacitors

43

LAFLEXEL – Laser annealing for improved flexible electronics

44

IQ-PET – In-line quality-control of UV offset lithographically printed electronic ink by THz technology

45

SIMLIFT – Towards single micron LIFT technology

46

PhD studentships

47

MP-SENS, a collaborative R&D project

49

National Centre

50

Large-area electronics and the Circular Economy

53

Outreach and networking

54

InnoLAE industry networking day

56

Innovations in Large-Area Electronics Conference (innoLAE)

57

Researcher training

60

Our people

63

Our partners

68

CONTENTS

1


Executive summary

2

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


The vision of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics (CIMLAE) has been to tackle the technical challenges of multifunctional integration of large-area electronics (LAE) systems, making it easier for UK manufacturers to produce complete system products that end-users are demanding. The Centre has now completed its operation under the original EPSRC funding grant. This report provides an overview of our achievements during that time.

Our industry Large-area electronics is, at heart, a new way of making electronics that offers benefits not just in the manufacturing process, but also in the final product where new form factors, design and integration options are enabled. We work with a wide range of new electronic materials that are powering the LAE manufacturing revolution: organic and metal-oxide semiconductors, graphene and other forms of carbon and 2D materials, plastics, nano-particulate metals etc. We build systems that include unpackaged and thin silicon to preserve thinness and flexibility, and we are part of an emerging industry that is being led by hundreds of small innovative companies, many of which started life in the UK as university spinouts from pioneering academic research groups. Increasingly, however, we are seeing engagement with much larger end-user companies that are starting to understand the potential benefits of incorporating LAE technology in their products. We are also seeing the emergence of completely new applications such as bioelectronics for healthcare and e-textiles where the woven fibres themselves incorporate electronic functionality. Since the founding of the Centre in October 2013, we’ve seen some notable industrial milestones that demonstrate the growing commercial applicability of LAE, beyond the first commercial application in OLED displays. These include the licensing of organic transistor backplane technology to display manufacturers for cutting edge flexible displays, the adoption of OLED lighting in first production vehicles, and first products coming off the production line of PragmatIC, a pioneering British company producing ultra-low cost flexible Integrated circuits and with whom we have had multiple collaborative projects since their founding in 2010.

Our technology portfolio The Centre developed a portfolio of LAE flagship projects across 8 topic areas, developing advanced processes and devices that could be brought together as a system and so be used to explore the challenges of multifunctional system integration and to develop solutions to these challenges. We’ve also run open calls for feasibility projects from any UK academic group working in LAE and have funded 9, one of which has gone on to become a flagship project in its own right. In the latter years of the Centre we focussed our technology development in 5 areas:

• O  rganic Field Effect Transistor (OFET) gas sensors (iPESS). • Solution processable complementary analogue circuits (iPESS). • Advanced rheometry to improve quality control in functional inks for printable electronics (P2CAR). • Advanced bonding techniques for interconnection in hybrid and multilayer plastic circuits (ITAPPE & SIPEM). • Adhesion lithography, a new, parallel, large-area process for production of nano-gaps for high-speed devices (Planalith4Manufacturing).

Demonstrating advanced technology To focus the research projects on tangible deliverables whose value would be readily understood, we defined three classes of demonstrator that we would target in the final year of Centre operation: • A  demonstrator of customisation that is possible with additive deposition of functional materials – such as those deposited by inkjet for example; • A demonstrator of the innovative integration of silicon and large-area electronics, in which each element “plays to its strengths”, recognising the power of silicon and the form factor benefits of LAE; • A demonstrator of multifunctional integration of LAE – i.e. bringing together several LAE devices into an electronic system. All three demonstrations were successfully achieved and more details can be found in the reports on the iPESS (page 18) and ITAPPE/SIPEM (pages 38/24) projects.

Partnership with industry Each of the Centre’s project investments involved industrial partners to provide early feedback and guidance to the researchers and also to accelerate technology transfer and uptake following successful completion of the projects. A total of 25 industrial partners collaborated with us in our flagship projects and 21 were involved in Pathfinder projects. We used other funding mechanisms to initiate a further 9 industry-led collaborative projects involving 13 companies to take forward technology developed in the Centre. We were particularly pleased that one of our feasibility “Pathfinder” projects led to the formation of a startup company, Zinergy.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

3


Growing a strong UK LAE community innoLAE LAE is an emerging high-tech manufacturing industry with many small players and a few large suppliers and end-users. During the first year of the Centre’s operation, we decided that to accelerate knowledge transfer and grow the size, strength and health of the UK’s LAE sector, it would be a focus for the Centre in its national role to bring together the academic and industrial communities to enable industry to present its challenges and needs and academia to provide early notification of research breakthroughs. As there was no large event in the UK already, we decided to create one, the Innovations in Large-Area Electronics conference (innoLAE) and Industry Day event. The conference was first held in 2015 and has uniquely continued to maintain an equal balance of numbers of delegates from industry and academia. It has already outgrown 2 venues and, as we go to press, are well advanced in plans to partner with an international trade organisation to deliver the conference and grow it further.

Research

66

Completed

13 9 8

flagship projects

publications co-authored by Centre researchers

pathfinder projects Innovate UK projects

Training researchers for industry The innoLAE conference has also become of importance in recruitment as a place where LAE employers and skilled LAE researchers can meet. 8 of the Centre’s post-doctoral researchers have moved to UK industry employment and 3 have secured industry secondments.

Pathfinders As part of our National Centre role to involve researchers from outside the 4 partner Universities of the Centre in our research portfolio pipeline, we ran 2 calls for short feasibility “Pathfinder” projects open to any member of the UK LAE academic research community. A total of 36 proposals were received and 9 were funded, with 1 (ITAPPE) becoming a major “Flagship” project on the topic of novel interconnect processes for multilayer circuits using low melting point plastic substrates (SIPEM).

The future Although research funded under the EPSRC Centre grant is now complete, we are delighted to report (see page 16 for our Technology Project Timeline Diagram) that 11 research activities are continuing and we are confident that, with the completed and continuing research involving many UK companies and with the 15 Invention Disclosures submitted, all our stakeholders will see significant and continuing impact from EPSRC’s core investment in the Centre.

4

People Centre research involved

30

37

15

investigators

post-doctoral researchers

students

8

post-doctoral researchers moved into UK industry roles

3 researchers secured secondments in industry

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


Impact

9 64

Projects have involved

academic institutions and industrial and RTO partners IP

1

spin out company formed

£6,996,250 Original grant

£3,686,086 Industry support

n millio 31 :£ ct je

£275,000 Other

To ta lp ro

£11,466,303 £8,985,016 EU public funding

15 invention disclosures filed by Centre researchers

Growing the community

18

New UK public funding

Centre events held with

1,729 total attendance (55% attendees from industry)

Funding 41 grants

Network:

980 Twitter followers Website: 227k pageviews by

607 institutions

59k

innoLAE conference attracted

803

registrations from 323 institutions in 27 countries visitors from 177 countries

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

5


Introduction to large-area electronics

6

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


What is large-area electronics? Large-area electronics (LAE), including printed, plastic, organic and flexible electronics, is a new way of making electronics that: • is enabled by new materials that can be processed at low-temperatures; • permits the use of new manufacturing processes such as printing and digital fabrication for electronics; • makes it possible to have products with new form factors, new cost structures and the potential for customisation. LAE approaches can produce ultrathin, lightweight, flexible and rollable devices that: emit or reflect light for displays, lighting and smart windows; transduce light for sensing and photovoltaic energy generation; sense a variety of physical, chemical and biological parameters; form flexible or stretchable circuits for analogue and digital electronics; harvest and/or store energy. Emerging LAE technologies include fibre electronics for smart textiles and bioelectronics for a new class of wearable and implantable devices.

A bright future for large-area electronics in the UK UK companies are key participants in global supply chains in multiple market sectors - including sensors (e.g. Peratech, CDT Ltd), Printed and Flexible Electronic Integration (e.g. PragmatIC, Printed Electronics Limited), Organic Transistor backplanes for displays and sensors (e.g. FlexEnable, SmartKem, NeuDrive), as well as in printable ink materials (e.g. Johnson Matthey, Dycotec, NovaCentrix), and manufacturing tools (e.g. Emerson and Renwick, RK Print Coat, M-SOLV, etc.). Scale-up capabilities at UK Catapult centres, such as the Centre for Process Innovation, enabled companies in this space to grow consistently and assess their product ideas for market to accelerate early adoption.

Peratech Pressure Sensors

The interface between silicon and LAE is critically important to allow electronic systems of the future to combine the power of silicon with the form factor and manufacturing benefits of LAE. These multifunctional systems will provide the engine of innovation for new high-growth markets such as healthcare, automotive, wearables and the ‘Internet of Things’ as electronics move increasingly off the rigid circuit board and onto textiles, packaging, glass, 3D product surfaces and even onto and into the human body. LAE is predicted to be one of the fastest growing set of technologies in the world, with projected market growth from $31.7 billion in 2018 to $77.3 billion in 20291, with applications in markets as diverse as consumer goods, media and architecture.

1

IDTechEx Report “Printed, Organic & Flexible Electronics Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2019-2029”

INTRODUCTION TO LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS

7


8

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


A number of recent announcements from companies in the UK indicate that LAE technology is gaining momentum as it is progresses towards mass market applications. PragmatIC, headquartered in Cambridge UK, is a world leader in ultra-low cost flexible electronics. Its flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs) are thinner than a human hair and can be easily embedded in any surface to provide new functionality to items, as well as extending proven applications such as RFID and NFC into mass-market use cases that were previously prohibited by the cost of traditional silicon ICs. In April 2019, PragmatIC announced that they received over 20 million orders for their first FlexIC products in only two months and are continuing to ramp production for high-volume applications.

© PragmatIC

FlexEnable, which spun out of the University of Cambridge in 2000, has developed an industrially-proven organic transistor technology platform as the key to truly flexible and cost-effective electronics over large and small surfaces. Their paper-thin technology is flexible enough to be wrapped around a pencil and can drive organic liquid crystal displays (OLCD), organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens and sensors. FlexEnable signed a technology transfer and license agreement with Truly Semiconductors, one of the leading display makers in China in July 2017. The deal will bring FlexEnable’s flexible organic liquid crystal display (OLCD) technology into mass production on Truly’s lines.

SmartKem, a chemical specialist in the design and development of semiconductors for electronic displays, also signed a landmark deal in 2018 to transfer its technology, including production line deployment and supply of materials, to a leading Taiwanese display maker to enable the mass manufacture of low power, lightweight, flexible displays. The UK has been a pioneer in the field of organic and printed electronics for over two decades from initial inventions in UK universities up to the present, when leading companies are scaling up key materials and processes and new device forms are moving towards volume manufacturing. The UK has a broad range of companies active in LAE materials, processes and devices and has many world-class academic research groups able to support the science and innovation needs of this growing industry. In addition, the UK is home to many end-user companies operating in the packaging, security and consumer goods sectors. We are seeing growing awareness of the benefits of LAE amongst these enduser companies and an increasing engagement with the emergent UK value-chain. With a growing demand for the features and benefits of LAE and with the increasing maturity of the technology, we see a bright future for large-area electronics in the UK.

© SmartKem

Conformable organic liquid crystal display (OLCD) by FlexEnable (source: Reproduced with permission from FlexEnable Ltd. 2016)

INTRODUCTION TO LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS

9


About us

Our mission: To tackle the technical challenges of multifunctional system integration of large-area electronics in high growth industrial sectors through an innovative programme of manufacturing research, in a strong partnership with both industry and academia.

10

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics was formed to address the challenges of scale-up and high-yield manufacture of large-area electronics (LAE) systems and improve key manufacturing processes to enhance performance. We worked with a wide range of companies who are pioneering this electronics manufacturing revolution and with end-users who see its commercial potential - helping to establish a vibrant new electronics systems manufacturing industry.

Centre objectives: • Address the technical challenges of manufacturing multifunctional LAE systems. • Develop a long-term research programme in advanced manufacturing processes aimed at ongoing reduction in manufacturing cost and improvement in system performance. • Support the scale-up of technologies and processes developed in and with the EPSRC Centre by UK manufacturing industry. • Promote the adoption of LAE technologies by the wider UK electronics manufacturing industry. The EPSRC Centre received total funding of £5.6m over 5 years from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which we have leveraged with industry support and further grant funding to an overall project portfolio of over £31 million. The EPSRC Centre opened in October 2013 and the EPSRC agreed a no-cost extension for the Centre to run until June 2019.

About EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing We were one of 16 Centres for Innovative Manufacturing funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of a novel approach to maximise the impact of innovative research for the UK, support existing industries, and more importantly, open up new industries and markets in growth areas. Each Centre received five years of funding to retain staff, develop collaborations, carry out feasibility studies, and support research projects. Each centre was co-created with business, with EPSRC support being used as a platform from which the Centres secured further investment from industry and other funders.

The EPSRC Centre is a partnership between the University of Cambridge (Cambridge Innovation and Knowledge Centre, CIKC), Imperial College London (Centre for Plastic Electronics, CPE), Swansea University (Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating, WCPC) and the University of Manchester (Organic Materials Innovation Centre, OMIC). A further 9 UK academic institutions have been involved in projects with the EPSRC Centre along with a total of 64 industry partners.

ABOUT US

11


Technical programme

12

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


The Centre’s technical programme was designed to deliver a coherent programme of research to address industry needs and provide the capabilities to meet the manufacturing requirements of early market opportunities for LAE systems.

The programme is organised into themes:

Advanced manufacturing processes The advanced manufacturing processes (AMP) theme investigated concepts for high-resolution, high-yield, high-volume methods to increase functional device performance and reduce cost. • Developing high resolution patterning processes for higher device and system performance. • Developing novel multifunctional materials systems and patterning processes for improved manufacturability.

System integration The system integration (SI) theme addressed the end-user need for multifunctional systems in a range of applications that either require significant printing content or the distribution of functions over a large area, where a printing-based manufacturing approach makes economic sense. All these applications require some form of on-board power, a sensor, some processing and an output. This theme developed innovative, cost-effective processes for high-yield LAE system manufacture by approaching the task from first principles and considering and co-optimising all aspects including system design, materials selection, process development and testing. • Developing innovative approaches to multifunctional system manufacture of large-area electronics using processes that minimise cost. • Developing novel approaches to high-throughput functional testing.

Emerging technologies Part of the strategic role of the Centre involved identifying new technology platforms and exciting application areas. We identified two areas of emerging technology that will be increasingly important in the future and are strategically linked to our large-area electronics portfolio: 1. Bioelectronics 2. e-Textiles

Pathfinder projects Pathfinder projects were small feasibility projects funded for six months with a budget of £50,000 and intended to develop a proposal for a significant new research programme in LAE manufacturing or facilitate industry collaboration by establishing the technical feasibility of an ambitious new concept. Project activity is expected to leverage new funding and attract industrial support. The Objectives of Pathfinder projects were: • To broaden the EPSRC Centre’s research portfolio, increase the number of its collaborators and promote technology transfer to and collaboration with industry. • To pump prime new research collaborations and facilitate larger scale collaborative projects leading to significant new funding involving the EPSRC Centre. The Pathfinder programme was initiated in 2015 with five projects, and a second call was made in the Spring of 2016 which resulted in the selection of four further projects. The Pathfinder programme has introduced nine new academics to the EPSRC Centre programme, four new universities and fifteen industrial partners.

Collaborative projects The academic research at early technology readiness levels funded by the EPSRC grant creates a platform to leverage further funding from a variety of sources and the significant involvement of industry partners. We have been partners in 8 projects funded by Innovate UK and 2 Horizon 2020 European collaborative proposals.

Student projects 15 MRes and PhD students have been involved in the EPSRC Centre cohort.

Follow-on projects A number of our projects have secured further funding to continue their research via new EPSRC grants, Marie Curie Fellowships (H2020), other major research grants and PhD studentships.

Within these themes the EPSRC Centre developed a portfolio of projects with a variety of sizes and timescales.

Flagship projects Flagship projects formed the core of the technical programme; each addressing a major challenge in LAE manufacturing. The projects typically involved one or two post-doctoral researchers working for two years. There were 6 flagship projects in the initial tranche of projects. A Technical Strategy Refresh in November 2016 resulted in a further four Flagship projects, three of which followedon from previous Flagship projects and one from a successful Pathfinder feasibility project.

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

13


Industry interaction and impact

Our partnership with the EPSRC Centre has helped us both articulate and then realise a compelling vision for how flexible electronics will be manufactured. This has been invaluable in our conversations with our customers and manufacturing partners. Dr Mike Banach, Technical Director of FlexEnable Ltd

14

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


This section lists the various ways we have engaged with industry, with examples of impact highlighted throughout the report.

Industry-informed research portfolio The Centre developed its technical programme in consultation with industry, from initial project proposals and the midterm technical strategy refresh, to involving industry in centre governance through representation on the advisory board and steering group. We ensured that industrial project partners were involved in all projects, helping to keep project outputs relevant to industry requirements. All major research projects held workshops to allow relevant industry representatives the opportunity to shape research priorities, as described for the ITAPPE project on page 40. Overall, our projects involved 102 partnerships with 64 different companies and Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs). Half of our partners are UK small/ medium-sized enterprises (SME), which reflects the current stage of industry development with a large number of small companies and relatively few large scale enterprises (LSE) in the field. SME

10

With research initiatives gearing their outcomes towards mass-market applications, the Centre encourages very timely and necessary interactions and collaborations with industrial partners. Dr Iyad Nasrallah, Former Centre researcher at University of Cambridge Working with companies In addition, we have worked on company-funded projects and offered companies access to our facilities and testing equipment. One example of a company project is our work in collaboration with Beko on consumer goods applications for OFET gas sensors (page 22). One of our projects has even contributed to the establishment of a start-up company making flexible batteries - Zinergy UK Ltd - which is already employing 6 people and leading collaborative projects of its own (see page 41).

LSE

High Value Manufacturing Catapult

Other

Our key downstream partner is the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which supports the growth of large-area electronics by offering SMEs the opportunity to scale up their manufacturing with industrially-compatible tools, materials and processes at the National Centre for Printable Electronics in Sedgefield, UK. Through this strategic partnership, UK academics can test their ideas and research outputs, assess and mature the corresponding technology readiness level and start the journey towards industrial scale up (see case study page 21).

32 22

Companies involved in Centre research

Collaborative projects Building on the Centre’s core science and technology development, we collaborated with industry on projects at a higher technology readiness level, funded through public sources such as Innovate UK or Horizon 2020, and focusing, for example, on developing technology further or facilitating technology transfer. We have been partners in 8 projects funded by Innovate UK. • AUTOFLEX • FLAGS • haRFest • SECURE • GRAPHCLEAN - (page 22) • PlasticArmPit - (page 22) • LOGS - (page 22) • MP-SENS - (page 49) We have also been part of collaborative projects funded by other sources such as H2020 or the Welsh Government Smart expertise fund, for example AFM2 with Haydale and other partners featured on page 28.

Recruitment One key impact of the Centre is the flow of highly trained staff with applicable skills to the large-area electronics industry. Eight of our researchers are now working in UK industry and a further three are (or have been) seconded to industry partners. The importance of this flow of people is highlighted by PragmatIC on page 34.

Outreach events We have used our outreach activities to involve industry widely through our events, conference and networking activities, in particular our industry networking day which is described on page 56. Our network includes over 280 UK companies and an additional 120 companies worldwide. The EPSRC Centre has involved industry in all aspects of its work and in addition to its research outputs it has generated a legacy of strengthened academic-industry links in the large-area electronics field in the UK.

INDUSTRY INTERACTION AND IMPACT

15


2014

18

iPESS - OFET gas sensors and solution-processed analogue electronics integrated into a flexible sensor system FLAGS – gas sensors

Flagship project Pathfinder project Collaborative project EPSRC research grant Studentship Spin off 35

System Integration

41

pNeuron - neuromorphic circuits

FlexEn – printed batteries 43

Zinergy

OPCAP – printed capacitors 37

Stable Nanowires – transparent conductors

SECURE – RF energy harvesting 34 haRFest – RF energy harvesting 33 Flexipower – RF energy harvesting 32 PHISTLES – High speed testing

30 PLANALITH – nanoelectronics by adhesion lithography 26 ARPLAE and P2CAR – advanced rheometry for print process control 44

36

LAFLEXEL - laser processing

PASMOMA – topology defined patterning

Emerging Technologies

Advanced Manufacturing Processes

34 AUTOFLEX – High speed testing

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EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


2019 End of EPSRC grant Studentship Studentship

EPSRC grant 22

GraphClean – printed sensors Studentship 49 MP-SENS – gas sensors 22 22

38

LOGS – printed sensors

PlasticArmPit – flexible smart devices

24

ITAPPE - hybrid integration

SIPEM –plastic circuit integration

Studentship - transparent conductors

45

IQ-PET - high speed testing 30

PLANALITH4Manufacture 28

ESPRC grant AFM2 – Advanced Functional Materials Studentship - laser processing

46

SIMLIFT - laser processing Studentship 1D-Neon - e-textiles

42

MFBBN - bioelectronics

EPSRC grant

Studentship

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

17


RESEARCH

iPESS – Integration of printed electronics with silicon for smart sensor systems INVESTIGATORS KRISHNA PERSAUD HENNING SIRRINGHAUS MIKE TURNER RESEARCHERS ATEFEH AMIN EHSAN DANESH SHEIDA FARAJI SURESH GARLAPATI SANKARA GOLLU MOON KANG VENUSKRISHNAN KOMANDURI IYAD NASRALLAH VINCENZO PECUNIA AIMAN RAHMANUDIN ANTHONY SOU DANIEL TATE PALANIAPPAN VALLIAPPAN INSTITUTIONS UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS ANALOG DEVICES ARM ALPHASENSE FLEXENABLE CAMBRIDGE DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY SYNGENTA DSTL BEKO CENTRE FOR PROCESS INNOVATION

The iPESS flagship project led on to a second flagship project iPESS2 - which focused on engaging with industrial partners to realise integrated sensor systems for a range of applications, including gas safety, food/crop monitoring and healthcare. The work and achievements of both are detailed below. Low-cost, smart, integrated sensors are an important element in current technology trends, including the Internet of Things, wearable electronics, personal health monitoring and ‘smart buildings’. Accurate, reliable sensors recording vital physical, chemical or biological signals need to be integrated into mechanically flexible environments, with full internet connectivity. The iPESS project takes a hybrid approach, using conventional silicon electronics for complex processing tasks, such as communications, and incorporating solution processed elements, including sensors and analogue amplifiers, to develop new form factors and lower cost systems. The iPESS researchers at the University of Manchester have developed a flexible, solution-processed organic FET (OFET) sensor that can operate at voltages compatible with battery-powered operation. In these OFETs, a polymer semiconductor acts as both channel and sensing layers, and a wide range of analytes can be detected, including vapours that impact on the environment (e.g. nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide), food (e.g. detection of pathogens in crop storage, food freshness) and personal care (e.g. personal body odour). The technology platform has wider potential for applications in the detection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or even solution-based analytes including biomolecules for the diagnosis or prognosis of disease. The solutionprocessability of printed electronics enables the customisation of sensor arrays by selecting from a range of sensing inks.

Fabrication of OFET-based sensors

The researchers at the University of Cambridge demonstrated integration of complementary circuits based on n-type amorphous metal-oxide semiconductors and p-type conjugated polymer semiconductor FETs on ultraflexible substrates. They created fully solution-processed, low voltage, low power, analogue differential amplifier circuits for signal amplification and conditioning of the output from the OFET gas sensors. Being able to realize signal amplification close to the sensor enables lower noise and higher sensitivity of detection. IPESS has developed an integrated sensor system that combines the OFET sensors with the printed analogue electronics for signal amplification. This technology platform opens the door to truly distributed sensing to monitor and respond to the environment around us.

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EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


The iPESS project is addressing the key challenges to creating a commercially viable flexible CMOS technology. FlexEnable has been delighted to participate in the project.

Flexible CMOS organic/metal-oxide hybrid semiconductor platform developed to make Operational Amplifiers

Dr Mike Banach, Technical Director of FlexEnable Ltd.

Objectives: • Deliver an integrated sensor system comprising the following on a single, flexible substrate: - Printed array of OFET gas sensors with commercially acceptable sensitivity and specificity - University of Manchester. - Printed operational analogue amplifier using CMOS hybrid metal oxide/ organic semiconductor technology- University of Cambridge. - Silicon microcontroller with analogue-to-digital converter. • Create an energy autonomous smart sensor system demonstrator. • Develop the OFET sensor system for a range of applications defined by industrial partners.

Achievements • University of Manchester prepared an organic field-effect transistor (OFET) gas sensor array, solution processed on flexible plastic substrates. - Low operating voltages (≤3 V, high mobility (0.2-0.5 cm2/Vs) and on/off ratio ≈103). - Use of digital printing to functionalise the OFET sensors enables customisation of sensor arrays. - Sensors based on organic semiconductors were found to be selectively sensitive to VOCs such as alcohols, ketones, esters and carboxylic acids, as well as sub-ppm levels of ammonia under ambient conditions of oxygen and water.

Benefits Specific benefits of this technology platform include: • Thin, light and flexible for application across a wide range of form factors. • Sensitive and selective detection of gaseous analytes at industrially relevant concentrations. • Solution based deposition compatible with commercial printing processes over large areas. • Low voltage operation with low power consumption. • Integration into systems with conventional silicon and printed electronic components.

The iPESS project’s ground-breaking work on sensor development has great potential to provide either new features for our existing product range or to enable new products for the home. By engagement in the project we can assess real-time the compatibility with our potential use cases as well as gain a deeper insight into the underpinning technology. Dr Natasha Conway, R&D Manager, Beko

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

19


iPESS is best described as a ‘milestone’ project, as it elegantly showcases the capabilities of the current state-of-the-art. The outcomes of the project will have planted a seed to foster greater research and development efforts into realising a countless array of flexible circuits catering for futuristic applications. Dr Iyad Nasrallah, Former iPESS researcher at University of Cambridge

- Improved selectivity by incorporating additives into the semiconductor during fabrication, particularly for sensing environmental pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. • University of Cambridge prepared an operational amplifier (OpAmp) for signal conditioning, fabricated by solution processing on a flexible foil substrate. - Developed an integration process based on high mobility p-type polymer and n-type oxide thin film transistors suitable for analogue electronics integration on ultrathin flexible substrates. - Delamination and electrical interconnection process for foil-to-foil integration. - Achieved low power amplifiers by developing a CMOS hybrid organic/ metal-oxide semiconductor platform operating at less than 10V. - Record breaking performance with gain of up to 1000V/V (60dB). • Assembled working prototype of a flexible sensor module integrating the CMOS OpAmp, OFET gas sensor and flexible electrophoretic display (EPD) output, all powered by a flexible solar panel. - The sensor module changes the EPD pixel from black to white when it senses ethanol. • Optimised the OFET gas sensor system for use in various applications defined by industrial partners – see examples on page 22.

Further developments

Opportunities to get involved • Explore the potential of this customisable platform for your specific application. • The team in Manchester are keen to exploit their IP in gas sensing in collaboration with industrial partners. For further details contact Professor Mike Turner (Michael.Turner@ manchester.ac.uk) or Professor Krishna Persaud (krishna.persaud@ manchester.ac.uk) • For further queries about the project, OpAmp research and circuit technology, or opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Professor Henning Sirringhaus (hs220@cam.ac.uk).

• The iPESS project demonstrator was displayed at the 2019 LOPEC tradeshow, and entered into the OE-A demonstrator competition that same year. • The demonstrator continues to be developed and improved. • Industry engagement continues as follow-on projects develop the sensing platform for various applications and transfer the complementary circuit technology to industrial partners. • The University of Manchester has applied for patent protection of the intellectual property underpinning gas sensing aspects of the platform.

iPESS flexible sensor module demonstrator

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EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


INDUSTRY INTERACTION CASE STUDY

Scaling up emerging LAE technology from an academic laboratory Points to consider before passing technology to a scale-up partner

“We produced a working device that shows great performance and now the end-user wants dozens to test.” “No problem – we’ll get our commercialisation partner to scale it up.” Whether it’s transferring technology from an industrial research lab to the company’s development or manufacturing group, or whether it’s passing technology from an academic laboratory to an industrial partner or a Catapult Centre, the challenges of scaling-up LAE devices should not be underestimated. In the iPESS project, the Centre’s research team at Manchester University wished to produce hundreds of multi-sensor OFET arrays to use with industrial partners. The team approached the National Printable Electronics Centre at CPI, part of the High-Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, who are wellequipped with 4 inch process tools to scale-up from the 1 inch process used at Manchester.

manufacturing at CPI. This meant that the University had to reformulate the components. • Detailed specifications and tolerances on device fabrication were not available at the start of the scale-up process. • The equipment at CPI is subject to other commitments, affecting the timescale for transferring the process. • The University required device arrays made on plastic rather than glass. This added a much greater degree of technical challenge to the scale-up work.

set that can be precisely controlled for repeatable results at scale. This results in the following impacts: a. Time: the new process development takes time. b. Money: if the new development is fully budgeted at the scale-up partner, it adds significant cost. c. Risk: the new development adds significant risk – there’s a chance that the new aspects of the work might not succeed. 3. At some stage the design needs to be frozen so that manufacture to standard practice can be carried out.

Outcome

• It would be advantageous to involve the scale-up partner early in the academic development. There may be options for materials and processes that have no impact on device performance but which make the process easier to scale-up. • A funding mechanism is needed specifically to enable technology transfer from universities to the HVM Catapult to overcome the real cost of process development before scale-up can occur. This could be a shared between EPSRC and Innovate UK. • A mechanism to enable universities to conduct experiments or development at the HVM Catapult on larger scale process tools. • A mechanism to enable university personnel to be placed on site to work with HVM catapult personnel would accelerate technology transfer and greatly enhance communication.

The degree of challenge was significantly greater than either party expected so the University has used the learning gained to develop a 4 inch process using their technology. The intention is to take this back to CPI for production of the devices when its robustness has been established.

General learning

• The University’s device architecture was different from the OFET architecture that had already been scaled up at CPI. • The device contained new materials with which CPI had no prior experience and the solvents used in the University were not compatible with safe

1. Innovative devices arising from academic research frequently use new or unusual materials, solvents or protocols that are not routine in industrial manufacture while industry uses established methods, materials and protocols necessary for good manufacturing practice. 2. Significant new process development may be necessary to convert one set of materials and processes that work in an academic laboratory to another

© Centre for Process Innovation

1 inch substrate

Context

Recommendations

4 inch substrate

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

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INDUSTRY INTERACTION CASE STUDY

Industrial impact from the iPESS project

Partnering to explore applications of OFET gas sensors The Organic Materials Innovation Centre (OMIC; www.omic.org.uk) at the University of Manchester has developed a low power, low cost gas sensor technology platform based on printable organic field effect transistor (OFET) arrays. The team lead by Professors Michael Turner and Krishna Persaud have demonstrated that the printable gas sensor arrays can be used to detect and measure a wide range of molecules in the gas phase, often with limits of detection from ppb to ppm. The team are working closely with industrial partners to explore applications of the OFET sensor arrays such as food storage, home appliances and air quality monitoring. Some examples of these projects are detailed here.

Like silicon electronics, I believe that flexible ultra low cost electronics can change the world. The cost and form factor advantages allow it to address different problems to silicon; in particular we see opportunities to improve health, food safety, and sustainability. The PlasticArmPit project is generating the fundamental building blocks required to support our vision for these affordable applications, and putting the design flows in place to make this technology available and accessible to everyone. James Myers, Director of Devices and Circuits Research, Arm

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1. PlasticArmPit

‘PlasticArmPit’ is a 36-month project that started in October 2017 partfunded by Innovate UK. It brings together the printed OFET sensor technology from the University of Manchester with a consortium led by British tech company Arm, including PragmatIC, a world leader in ultra-low cost flexible electronics, and global consumer goods company Unilever, which brings the opportunity for a real-life application from the consumer industry. The consortium aims to create a wearable device consisting of a sensor array, sensor interface and custom machine learning processing engine, manufactured on a flexible substrate, as a proof-ofconcept. The initial use case is for a malodour sensor. The device needs to be low cost, with small form factor, and be designed bespoke to the application, this means looking beyond traditional chip manufacturing methods and materials by using a low cost flexible substrate, for example plastic, in place of silicon. The consortium believes the key will be using processing engines such as neural networks that are customized for the specific application and capable of operating in an extremely parallel fashion to achieve high performance, and consume low power. The ‘PlasticArmPit’ project is the first time that a flexible smart device has been created to take advantage of machine learning algorithms in hardware. It will serve as an important proof-of-concept for reliable and efficient building of smart, integrated, fully flexible systems. The work completed by the consortium could pave

the way for significant advances in industries spanning food, healthcare, and agriculture.

2. Low cost sensors to reduce storage losses The novel gas sensor platform under development in OMIC is of interest to CDT Ltd and a collaboration has been established with the iPESS project to investigate if the novel sensors can be used to monitor the condition of crops in storage. CDT began as a spin-out company from the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge (1992) to develop polymer OLED technology. Since 2007, CDT has been part of Sumitomo Chemical. The 100-strong CDT interdisciplinary team has worldclass expertise in physics, chemistry, engineering, microelectronics, materials and life sciences. CDT scientists work on a range of topics from fundamental understanding to optimizing materials and devices for market applications across organic electronics, energy harvesting and storage, biosensors, optoelectronic detection, flexible OLED and OLED displays and lighting. The team at OMIC, through consultation with CDT, are investigating how the sensor technology may be developed to

Lithographically defined electrodes on plastic film © CDT

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


CDT regards the technology under development within iPESS as a very promising approach to gas sensing platforms applicable for many of the measurement challenges in the agricultural sector. Dr Nick Dartnell, Senior Scientist, CDT monitor the volatile gases emitted by a range of crops in storage and progress has been made to show that the gas sensor technology can detect the organic molecules of interest. Additionally, CDT and OMIC are collaborating with the National Institute for Agricultural Botany and the University of Greenwich in the “Low cost sensors to reduce storage losses” (LOGS) project funded by Innovate UK and the BBSRC. The project is exploring the feasibility of using low-cost printed electronics based sensor arrays to detect early onset of disease in stored apple crops and brings in work form the OMIC team and sensors developed by CDT. The system would have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive, and thus could be massively deployed in commercial storage units for effective and sensitive detection of developing rots. It has been demonstrated that the gas sensor technology can respond to the key organic molecules of interest under the types of conditions encountered in crop storage and as a result can be trained to differentiate between healthy and rotten fruit.

3. Beko Beko are collaborating with OMIC to explore how the novel gas sensor platform can be used to deliver smart innovative functionality in a range of home appliances.

4. GraphClean - printed electronic sensors for urban monitoring Beko is one of Europe’s leading home appliance brands and the best-selling large home appliance brand in the UK. Beko plc has an active research and development program that utilizes the company’s know-how and expertise together with major collaborations with UK companies and research institutions to develop innovative new products and differentiating features which respect the environment and provide strong customer value. Significant progress has been made to demonstrate that the gas sensor technology can detect the molecules of interest under relevant conditions. The collaboration has provided the OMIC team with a valuable insight into the hurdles that need to be overcome to translate a technology from the research laboratory into the application and development environment. Through working with OMIC, Beko have been able to rapidly evaluate the potential of their low power, low cost gas sensor platform, optimised for Beko’s specific use case within home appliances.

This project is developing a series of printable sensor platforms capable of sensing the biggest hazards to urban health, targeting industrial solvents, NOx, CO and PM2.5 particles. The OFET gas sensor developed through the iPESS project has been integrated with a graphene/metal oxide sensor and a novel particle sensing electrode to develop a sensor inlay capable of being integrated with conventional electronics. The project is funded by the Newton Fund though Innovate UK and is led by the Centre for Process Innovation (part of the HVM Catapult) joined by UK printed electronics companies Novalia and NeuDrive with the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge alongside partners in China. The majority of the work in the project focused on the optimisation of the design, the functional inks and design of the platform for first application implementation. This is progressing to a short trial of the sensor platform. The output of the project will be a versatile platform which can be exploited in multiple markets.

The home appliance market is extremely competitive. These innovative low cost, low power gas sensors could enable new features of strong value to the customer, which would differentiate us from other manufacturers, whilst remaining cost competitive and energy efficient. Natasha Conway, R&D Manager, Beko R&D Centre

©Beko

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RESEARCH

SIPEM – System integration for plastic electronics manufacturing INVESTIGATORS ANDREW HOLMES GUANGBIN DOU INSTITUTION IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

Many applications of plastic electronics will require hybrid integration of both printed electronics, which offers large area and flexibility at low cost, and conventional silicon electronics which allows much greater functionality. However, there is a packaging technology disconnect between conventional and printed electronics which hinders the direct attachment of high-density and fine-pitch silicon devices to coarsepitch single layer printed plastic circuits. This causes a bottleneck in system integration for low-cost, high-density applications.

INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS PRAGMATIC CENTRE FOR PROCESS INNOVATION PRINTED ELECTRONICS LIMITED CAMBRIDGE DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY M-SOLV TRIBUS-D INSETO (UK)

Opportunities to get involved • Try out our processes - we can run small-scale trials for you in-house. • Collaborate with us to develop the SIPEM technology for your application. • For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Andrew Holmes (a.holmes@imperial.ac.uk) or Guangbin Dou (g.dou@imperial.ac.uk). Figure 1. System integration concept (top) and process steps involved (bottom).

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EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


The SIPEM project built upon the ITAPPE Pathfinder project (see page 38) which had successfully developed methods for attaching active devices to low temperature polymer substrates using non-conductive adhesive (NCA) packaging and thermosonic (TS) bonding. The SIPEM project aimed to develop a unique system integration technology for printed plastic electronics, enabling the realisation of multi-layer flexible electronic circuits with embedded active and passive components. The project explored the use of ultrasonic spot welding to form inter-layer connections in laminated multi-layer stacks of low-temperature polymer layers with printed or laminated metallisation. This has led to a new enabling technology for higher-density PET electronic circuits with potential for improved robustness in harsh environments.

System integration concept Figure 1 shows one possible realisation of the system integration concept envisaged in the SIPEM project. In this example various active and passive devices are encapsulated within a laminated stack comprising two circuit layers and a spacer/adhesive layer. The process steps required to realise this structure are also shown. Flexible ICs are attached to the lower circuit layer using one of the solutions developed in the ITAPPE project. Conventional devices, pre-mounted on flexible interposers, are then applied. The interposers act as adapters, catering for differences in interconnect pitch and providing spot-weldable pads. An adhesive spacer layer is applied, followed by the upper circuit layer. Finally, ultrasonic spot welding is used to form electrical connections between the upper and lower circuit layers, and between the upper circuit layer and the interposers.

Ultrasonic spot welding Ultrasonic spot welding is a room-temperature process in which highfrequency sound waves are delivered to the interface between two parts that are held together under contact pressure, facilitating the formation of a weld. This technology has been widely used for joining metal sheets and plastic parts. However, the application and materials system explored within the SIPEM are both new for spot welding.

Figure 2. Demonstrators fabricated in the SIPEM project: spot-welded RFID tag with 2 circuit layers (top); spotwelded multilayer coil with 3 circuit layers (bottom).

Objectives • Explore the feasibility of using ultrasonic spot welding to form interconnections between layers in a multi-layer stack of low-temperature polymer layers with printed/laminated metallisation. • Fabricate one or more system demonstrators using the above methods.

Achievements • Successful development of an innovative spot welding process for joining PET circuit layers with laminated Al or printed Ag metallization. • Realisation of functional demonstrators including RFID tags and multilayer coils with up to 10 circuit layers. Examples are shown in Figure 2.

Benefits • Enabling technology for higher-density plastic electronic circuits • Room-temperature, adhesive-free route to dissimilar/similar metal interconnects (spot welding process).

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

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RESEARCH

P2CAR – Printing process control through advanced rheometry INVESTIGATORS TIM CLAYPOLE DAN CURTIS DAVID GETHIN RHODRI WILLIAMS RESEARCHERS DAVID BEYNON JAMES CLAYPOLE PHILIP COOPER ALEX HOLDER TATYANA KOROCHKINA INSTITUTION SWANSEA UNIVERSITY INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS ICMPRINT HAYDALE

The P2CAR flagship project followed on from the successful ARPLAE (advanced rheology for printing large-area electronics) flagship project. The work and achievements of both are detailed below. Manufacturability, process control and product performance of structured products manufactured by flow-based processes, including printing and coating, are critically dependent on the rheological behaviour of complex fluids. Printing electronic devices often involves the formulation of functional inks having a relatively high solids fraction. Such inks display complex non-Newtonian and often viscoelastic rheological properties. Traditional approaches to characterising the viscoelastic properties of these materials often focus on the properties of the quiescent material (i.e. isolated from bulk flow conditions) and hence little correlation is observed between these measurements and process outcome (in terms of, for example, print quality and/or reproducibility). The ARPLAE and P2CAR project developed novel approaches (CSPS, FTCSPS) to characterise complex fluids under bulk flow conditions and applied these techniques to functional inks for printed electronics.

Objectives • Develop and apply advanced rheometric approaches – Controlled Stress Parallel Superposition (CSPS) - to electronic materials printed on a press. • Characterise the relationships between print quality metrics, ink composition and ink rheology. • Assess the benefits of the new rheometry on predictability of print outcome and on consistency of print process control.

Opportunities to get involved • Collaborate with us to develop or customise your inks/processes using the new rheometric techniques. CSPS could be the key to successful process optimisation and control of your application. • We are seeking project partners for funding applications based on developing online/inline rheology probes. • For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Professor Tim Claypole (Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating - t.c.claypole@ swansea.ac.uk) or Dr Dan Curtis (Complex Fluids Research Group d.j.curtis@swansea.ac.uk).

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Lines printed using identical print processes with inks that are indistinguishable under quiescent conditions. Under CSPS conditions the distinct rheological characteristics of the materials become apparent.

Benefits • Faster rheology measurements. • Faster and cheaper ink formulation with improved quality control. • Improves consistency of print outcomes, providing quality assurance and checking printability of older inks.

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


ARPLAE/P2CAR Oscillatory force Unidirectional force

Formulation Laboratory Viscoemetric Unidirectional flow

- Superposition of oscillatory and unidirectional flows - Probes viscoelastic behaviour of material UNDER flow conditions - Provides the key link between the formulation laboratory and the FLOW process

- Bulk flow but irrelevant to viscoelastic materials

Or Rheometric Oscillatory flow

Process Flow Conditions

- Inherently quiescent conditions - Linear viscoelastic experiments - Isolated from process flow conditions

No process relevance No correlation between rheological parameters and print outcomes

Flow

Superposition rheometry provides the missing link between the formulation laboratory and the print process and offers a route to improved process control.

Controlled Stress Parallel Superposition (CSPS) Controlled Stress Parallel Superposition (CSPS) is an advanced rheometric tool which characterises both the elastic and viscous characteristics of a complex fluid subject to bulk flow conditions at a single characteristic timescale (i.e. measurement frequency). In order to access data over a range of timescales, we developed and validated a Fourier Transform Mechanical Spectroscopy implementation of CSPS (i.e., FT-CSPS). This allows rapid assessment of formulation changes on the rheological properties of the ink over a range of timescales - such changes may affect print outcome.

Achievements: • Rigorous validation of CSPS rheometry. • Demonstration of the utility of CSPS for rheological characterisation and prediction of printability based on print trials with model carbon and silver conductive ink formulations. • Development of Fourier Transform CSPS (FT-CSPS) – a very rapid technique allowing the viscoelastic characteristics of the material to be probed simultaneously at multiple relaxation timescales when subjected to bulk flow conditions. • Waveform optimisation software developed to streamline the test design procedures.

Further developments An award through the Welsh Government SMART expertise program will fund work on the Application of Functionalised Micro & Nano Materials, aimed at taking innovative concepts using printed advanced functional materials from proof of concept to profitable products.

Looking at the properties of matter that flows (or stops flowing) may seem dry, but it has allowed me to be involved in a diverse research focus - having been part of investigations in blood and plasma microstructure, commercial cosmetics, collagen gelation, silicon gelling systems and functional inks. This ability to apply mechanical knowledge with other specialists to solve the previously unsolvable is what fuels my passion for rheology. Dr Alex Holder, Former Centre researcher at Swansea University

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

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INDUSTRY INTERACTION CASE STUDY

Haydale and the P2CAR project

Academia unlocks answers for industry the functionalized GNPs (f-GNPs). The Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) identified the impact of functionalization on dispersion by using the advanced rheological approach developed in the ARPLAE project (page 26) – measuring equilibrium viscosity (a higher equilibrium viscosity indicated better dispersion) and using small amplitude oscillatory shear (SAOS) and Controlled Stress Parallel Superposition (CSPS) methods to measure non-Newtonian properties.

Using rheology to determine the effect of functionalization of Graphite Nano Platelets (GNPs) The academic team at Swansea University have used their advanced rheological approach to help the global advanced materials group Haydale understand how the functionalization of ink particles will change the properties and print performance of their inks. This ability to predict process performance highlights one of the ways academiaindustry collaborations can benefit businesses. As the study below illustrates, this academic input has provided Haydale with critical information in a time and costeffective alternative to print trials.

F-GNPs with 4 different functional groups (NH3, COOH, Ar and O2) were dispersed in TPU resin to produce a range of screen printing inks to be measured rheologically and by printing trial. There was a measurable difference in both the rheology and print performance of different f-GNPs. The same trend was seen in both the rheological and print performance - with the NH3 being best, followed by COOH, then O2 and finally Ar. This trend also represented the change in the polarity of the attached functional groups and their affinity to the TPU resin, with NH3 being the most polar and Ar being the least. A higher polarity and affinity to the resin polymer produced an improved dispersion of the f-GNPs and improved print performance. The concentrations of particles used in the inks was varied from semi-dilute to concentrated range.

Graphite Nano Platelets (GNP) are small high aspect ratio particles comprising several layers of graphene. They are typically 50nm by 5um, which gives them a high surface area to volume ratio and a tendency to agglomerate. Adding functional groups to the surface of the GNP enables better dispersion and additional functionality. This collaborative study investigated the rheological effects of changing the functionalization on GNPs in a screen printing ink. Haydale’s proprietary plasma process created 250 Viscosity Pa.s

75 70 65 60

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NH3 COOH O2 CSPS

Ar

NH3

200

O2

150

COOH

100 50 0

Ar 0.1

1 Shear rate (s-1)

The importance of the particles being dispersed was seen in the printability tests where the NH3 shows an improvement over the other materials in terms of surface roughness and sheet resistance in the semi-dilute regime.

Collaboration continues to bear fruit SMART Expertise Programme on Applications of Functionalized Micro and Nano Materials Following this productive partnership, Haydale and Swansea University will combine expertise with GTS Flexibles, Alliance Labels, Tectonic International, ScreenTec, Alliance Labels, Malvern Panalytical and the English Institute of Sport on a collaborative Welsh government SMART expertise programme. This programme will develop new concepts and advanced functionalized inks using Haydale’s advanced materials, as well as creating a product pipeline to efficiently move proof-of-concept products towards scale up and volume production. For example, Haydale, in collaboration with WCPC, have developed and refined a range of functionalised graphene printing inks for the development of advanced wearable technology to be embedded into elite athlete apparel ahead of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Opportunities to get involved For further information on this work, please contact Professor Tim Claypole: t.c.claypole@swansea.ac.uk.

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EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


The close relationship with our colleagues at WCPC is now bearing fruit with a range of robust, stable, high performing functionalised inks and coatings emerging from extensive development work and finding applications in wearable technology, printed sensors and thermal management. Keith Broadbent, Chief Executive Officer, Haydale Ltd.

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

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RESEARCH

PLANALITH – Plastic nanoelectronics by adhesion lithography INVESTIGATORS THOMAS ANTHOPOULOS ANDREW FLEWITT RESEARCHERS DIMITRA GEORGIADOU JAMES SEMPLE GWEN WYATT-MOON INSTITUTIONS IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS PRAGMATIC PRINTED ELECTRONICS LIMITED

The PLANALITH flagship project led on to a second flagship project aiming to translate the techniques developed into reproducible manufacturing processes – PLANALITH4MANUFACTURE (P4M). The work and achievements of both are detailed below. The PLANALITH and P4M projects investigated the use of the adhesion lithography (a-Lith) technique for low-cost patterning of nanoscale feature sizes to fabricate ultra-high performance thin film electronic devices. This new nanogap process technology is a transformational approach to the production of electronics with nanoscale feature sizes over large-areas, that avoids the need for conventional high cost manufacturing techniques that do not allow for upscaling. The project redefines the manufacturing methodology for simple electronic components (such as diodes) by focusing on device architecture rather than material performance, and leveraging scalable nanofabrication techniques. One example of where this approach is of interest is in high frequency electronics e.g. passive radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

Adhesion lithography (a-Lith) Adhesion lithography uses manipulation of adhesion forces to create asymmetric electrodes separated by a ~10 nm gap. These electrodes can have exceptionally large aspect ratios (>1000000) and can be patterned on flexible substrates. Due to the ability of adhesion lithography to create asymmetric electrodes separated by a nanogap it can easily create high performance devices, including ultra-high frequency diodes.

Adhesion lithography

Objectives: Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved, contact Professor Andrew Flewitt: ajf23@cam.ac.uk.

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• Demonstrate that adhesion lithography allows for the fabrication of ultra-high performance thin film electronic devices at low cost by nanoscale patterning. • Investigate the use of a semi-automated system to assess the scalability and reproducibility of the a-Lith process.

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


Achievements: • Demonstrated large scale processing of nanogap electrodes. • Fabrication of nanogap electrodes (aluminium and gold) with spacing of <20 nm and aspect ratios >100,000,000. • Fabricated IGZO Schottky diodes with cut-off frequencies above 1 GHz • A-lith process shown to be compatible with industry standard microfabrication techniques. • Development of the a-lith tool for automation and optimisation of this process. • Optimisation of electrode materials to move towards more cost-effective materials.

Further developments The project team have been awarded an Adventurous Manufacturing grant by the EPSRC to investigate combining adhesion lithography with low-dimensional materials, such as ZnO nanowires and graphene with the aim being that the nanogap unlocks the intrinsic performance of the nanomaterials.

A-Lith fabricated nanogap electrodes on plastic

Peel step of long metal electrodes with removed gold on the adhesive

Cut-off frequency measurement of a-IGZO adhesion lithography diode at 0 dBm

a-IGZO adhesion lithography diodes of different widths. Inset: Schematic of device structure

Benefits • Reduced processing costs - Large area parallel process can make a vast number of devices in one step. - No high-resolution lithography needed. • Very high-speed device performance –e.g. GHz diode operation at low speed device cost. • Reduced cost of integration.

Translating research from an in-lab technique to something with industrial interest has been immensely satisfying. The CIMLAE Centre has been essential in me achieving this due to their excellent support in fostering academic-industrial links. Dr Gwenhivir Wyatt-Moon, Research Associate at the University of Cambridge

Incredibly long (over 70m) continuous aluminium and gold nanogap (20nm) electrodes

Working on the PLANALITH project has afforded me not only the opportunity to put the skills and knowledge gained through my PhD into practice, but to do so while envisaging a real world application of my research. The shift from pure academic research to addressing problems of a more industrial nature has been challenging but at the same time incredibly gratifying. Dr James Semple, Former Centre research associate at Imperial College London

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RESEARCH

PHISTLES – Platform for high speed testing of large-area electronic systems INVESTIGATOR ANDREW FLEWITT RESEARCHERS ABHISHEK KUMAR KHAM NIANG ABHAY SAGADE INSTITUTION UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE INDUSTRIAL PARTNER PRAGMATIC

The electronic display industry has found it economically essential, especially for large-area and high information content OLED displays, to be able to perform in-line testing (and subsequent repair) of displays. Similarly, the next generation of large-area electronics (LAE) will require a new testing approach which is of low cost (to economically match the low cost of LAE materials and processes) and effective at the high production speeds of printed logic - which can be over 1 million circuits per hour. PHISTLES addressed the need for high-speed testing of LAE by employing a basic approach of developing a library of ‘Simultaneous Multiple Device Tests’ (SMuDTs). The key feature of the SMUDTs is that a small number of connections can be used to simultaneously test a large number of devices in parallel, whether these be analogue or digital. In practice, testing requirements are highly end-user-specific. However, we can deliver testing guidelines on a case-by-case basis, exemplified in this project by the testing of CMOS logic. The project also developed high speed tests for antennas and considered the simulation, design and testing of high frequency diodes which could be used for a printed energy harvesting system.

Objectives • Develop a model for cost-effective electrical testing of LAE during roll-to-roll manufacture. • Develop a library of techniques that can offer a step change in the cost and time for testing LAE. • Use device simulations and analysis to provide guidelines for printing diodes for high frequency operation and test diodes in the UHF range.

Achievements • Developed SMuDTs to address the need for high-speed testing of large-area electronics produced by reel-to-reel (R2R) manufacturing. - Thin film transistors: by connecting devices to form ring oscillators, tests could identify groups of logic gates where one device had failed increasing measurement speed and reducing measurement cost by an order of magnitude compared with existing non-SMuDT methods. • Developed a library of testing scenarios showing that the generic SMuDT approach can be applied to a diversity of devices. • Assisted the PLANALITH project, Flexipower project and an Innovate UKfunded collaborative project (haRFest) with design, simulation and testing of high frequency diodes and antennas.

Further developments The project led on to a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project with PragmatIC which aimed to increase the speed of testing specific metrics for thin film transistors, which currently take a long time to measure.

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Professor Andrew Flewitt: ajf23@cam.ac.uk.

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RO Voltage Amplitude (V)

5 4

Y>MRO Grade 3, Poor devices

5

Y>MRO>X Grade 2, Average devices

MRO>X Grade 1, Good devices

2 MRO=X 1

MRO=Y 0

1000

2000 3000 4000 5000 RO frequency (Hz)

Results from the testing of blocks of TFT logic devices made into ring oscillators which then allows binning by performance.

6000

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


RESEARCH

Flexipower – Printable components for RF energy harvesting systems INVESTIGATORS TIM CLAYPOLE DAVID GETHIN RESEARCHERS DAVID BEYNON JAMES CLAYPOLE TIM MORTENSEN INSTITUTION SWANSEA UNIVERSITY

Devices created using high-volume, large-area, manufacturing techniques need a power source which doesn’t compromise the low cost, thin and flexible, nature of these printed devices. Coin cell batteries are a common choice due to their relatively low cost, however they can significantly increase the overall size of a printed device and their rigid form factor can reduce or negate the flexibility of the device. Flexipower is a printed energy harvesting system that can capture energy from a nearby radio frequency (RF) energy source using a printed or part-printed design. The use of printing technology will enable the devices to retain their low price and thin, flexible form factor and eliminate the need for primary batteries in a wide range of applications. The project incorporated printed circuitry with conventional components such as LEDs and ICs to give capabilities which would be hard or impossible to achieve with printed electronics alone. These hybrid circuits can dramatically reduce costs and allow for novel designs compared to conventional electronics.

Objectives: • Develop architectures and processes to print RF energy harvesting components. • Develop high-volume processes to integrate these components into a thin flexible system to enable low-cost manufacturing.

Achievements: •

The project developed demonstrators at three frequency ranges - 500kHz (based on a bespoke transmitter), demonstrating high power, short range (<10cm) energy transfer – enough to light up several LEDs. - 13.56MHz RFID frequency (present in most smartphones), operated over a similar range with lower powers. - UHF RFID transmitting smaller amounts of power but with a potential maximum range of 1m.

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Professor Tim Claypole: T.C.Claypole@swansea.ac.uk.

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INDUSTRY INTERACTION CASE STUDY

PragmatIC collaborations

Providing access to world-leading academic knowledge The EPSRC Centre has developed various productive, mutually beneficial interactions with PragmatIC a world leader in ultra-low cost flexible electronics. Their technology platform delivers flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs) that are thinner than a human hair and can be easily embedded into everyday objects, enabling the potential for trillions of smart objects that can engage with consumers and their environments. PragmatIC launched their first products in February 2019, aimed at the smart packaging market, and gained orders for over 20 million circuits within the first 2 months1. Shortly after the company’s formation in 2010, PragmatIC established an embedded laboratory within Electrical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. This close collaboration has continued with the EPSRC Centre and subsequently broadened to include all the Centre’s partner universities through a wide range of projects. As well as being directly involved in the governance of the Centre through the Steering Group, PragmatIC have been project partners on four of our flagship projects (PHISTLES, PLANALITH, PLANALITH4MANUFACTURE, SIPEM) and three pathfinder projects (ITAPPE, LAFLEXEL, SIMLIFT). This alignment of the Centre programme with industry requirements resulted in further collaboration on three Innovate UK projects:

©PragmatIC 1

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• AUTOFLEX developed highspeed measurement techniques compatible with the inline manufacturing process for flexible electronics. Temporary tracks joined circuits together enabling many circuits to be tested simultaneously. • haRFest produced a flexible RF energy harvesting device housing a printed antenna alongside a printed array of capacitors to tune the resonant frequency and maximise the harvested power output. Flexible energy harvesting devices such as this will play a key role in smart packaging for high value industries. Dr Catherine Ramsdale (Vice-President of Device Engineering at PragmatIC) explained that “PragmatIC’s learnings from haRFest have been embedded within the organisation and have supported its interactions with antenna suppliers and ink manufacturers in other projects.” • PlasticArmPit aims to create a proof of concept wearable device consisting of a sensor array, sensor interface and custom machine learning processing engine manufactured on a flexible substrate, like plastic. PragmatIC has benefited from the flow of highly skilled personnel from the Centre, as highlighted by Dr Ramsdale: “PragmatIC’s involvement with CIMLAE has strengthened its interaction with participating universities, and has provided a useful recruitment pipeline”. One student on the haRFest project subsequently joined PragmatIC and is now undertaking a PhD, part funded by the company. Centre links led to a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Professor Flewitt which brought in expertise in

PragmatIC. April 2019. https://www.pragmatic.tech/news/pragmatic-initial-orders-exceed-20-million-flexics

amorphous oxide electronics and led to the subsequent employment of the participating Associate in the business. PragmatIC’s involvement with the PLANALITH project resulted in a Knowledge Transfer Secondment with Imperial College and PlasticArmPit has led to greater interaction with the University of Manchester, a likely source of student engagement in the future. PragmatIC has also used the innoLAE conference to disseminate their latest progress and network with both academic and industrial audiences. Dr Ramsdale has personally contributed to the success of the conference as a member of the innoLAE programme committee. At the most recent conference, Gillian Ewers (VP marketing at PragmatIC) was able to showcase the potential for smart packaging enabled by PragmatIC technology to help with recycling, aligning very well with the circular economy theme introduced into the conference.

Our various collaborations with CIMLAE provide access to world-leading academic knowledge and allow us to explore ideas from advanced materials to novel fabrication techniques. This significantly reduces the risk before moving these concepts into industry. Dr Richard Price, Chief Technology Officer, PragmatIC

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


RESEARCH

pNeuron – Printed electronics for neuromorphic computing INVESTIGATORS PIOTR DUDEK LESZEK MAJEWSKI MICHAEL TURNER RESEARCHERS KIRON PRABHA-RAJEEV JAYAWAN WIJEKOON INSTITUTION UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS NEUDRIVE CENTRE FOR PROCESS INNOVATION

Some of the most challenging issues in large-area printed electronics (LAE) are related to the reliability, variability and relatively low speed of individual devices, which make it difficult to implement more complex functionality. Remarkably, biological systems have evolved solutions to these problems: neurons are slow, highly variable, volatile, and yet brains have an amazing ability to achieve robust operation, and process information at high speed and with low power consumption. pNeuron explored whether circuits based on neural principles could provide useable solutions to coping with device issues in LAE. Additionally, as the interest in brain-inspired systems continues to grow, could large-area printed electronics, with its inherently more “neuron-like” devices, provide an ideal alternative technology for implementing such systems?

Objectives • Demonstrate spiking neuron circuits, mimicking biological behaviour, using solution-processed electronics technology. • Explore feasibility of designing circuits based on neural principles, and proof-of-concept experiments, to prepare the ground for future research and collaborative research proposals.

Achievements • Evaluated several approaches to device fabrication. • Designed and simulated pMOS circuits, implementing integrate-andfire neuron circuits. • Constructed a prototyping system for complete neuron circuits.

Further developments • This work led to the creation of a PhD studentship. • This work was involved in a successful grant application for a collaborative Innovate UK project led by Arm - ‘PlasticArmPit’.

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Professor Michael Turner: Michael.Turner@ manchester.ac.uk.

Purkinje neurons in culture. Credit Annie Cavanagh- CC BY-NC

Neurons in culture. Credit Ludovic Collin - CC BY-NC

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

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RESEARCH

PASMOMA – Patterning strategies for integration of multifunctional organic materials INVESTIGATORS NATALIE STINGELIN DONAL BRADLEY PAUL STAVRINOU RESEARCHERS IOAN BOTIZ PHILIP CALADO SHENGYANG CHEN JAIME MARTIN INSTITUTIONS IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

The objective of the PASMOMA project was to develop highresolution patterning of multifunctional materials without the use of complex lithography methods and to scale the technique up for the fabrication of large-area multifunctional arrays for photonic and electronics applications. Objectives • Pattern surface relief/energy structures using nonlithographic processes. • Realise selectivity of particle deposition based on relief structure size. • Deposit different materials (dielectrics, conductors, semiconductors) at predefined positions. • Gain precise size control of particles in semiconductor microdispersion.

Achievements • The project achieved controlled, patterned deposition of insulating, conducting and light-emitting nanoparticles from microemulsions onto patterned substrates over areas as large as 2 x 2 cm2. • Establishment of Convective Self-Assembly (CSA) for “nanopinballing” functional colloid dispersions (colloidal nanoparticles, NPs) onto surface-patterned substrates. • Key results included: - Different sizes of micro or nanoparticles can be deposited into grooves homogeneously and with an ordered structure. - There is some potential for scaling up the process for larger areas (e.g. by adjusting the amount of the colloidal suspension and the size of the blade), although the deposition process is currently slow.

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or followon work, contact Professor Natalie Stingelin: n.stingelinstutzmann@imperial.ac.uk.

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Conjugated polymer particles (polyfluorene-co-vinylbenzene) were deposited into patterned structures and good alignment was achievable.

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


RESEARCH

Stable nanowires – Spray coated nanowires with enhanced stability INVESTIGATOR JEFF KETTLE RESEARCHERS SANJAY GHOSH DINESH KUMAR INSTITUTION BANGOR UNIVERSITY INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS GCELL UPS2 CAMBRIDGE DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY GWENT GROUP CENTRE FOR PROCESS INNOVATION

Transparent conducting electrodes (TCEs) are an essential component of many electronic devices such as such as solar cells, touch screens, flat panel displays and OLEDs. Most TCEs use indium tin oxide (ITO) based electrodes which are optically transparent, electrically conductive and easily deposited as a film. ITO, however, has limited conductivity, possesses too high a cost for widespread commercialisation and shows limited longevity on polymer substrates. Metallic nanowires represent an interesting alternative to ITO. They combine several advantages such as high optical transparency, low sheet resistance and mechanical flexibility - a promising transparent conducting material for electrical and optical devices, particularly as flexible and conformal transparent electrodes. The stable nanowires project assessed the viability of implementing nanowire electrodes - identifying and addressing the challenges involved.

Objectives • Develop and assess a new manufacturing approach for creating high performing metallic nanowire TCEs. - Approaches which enable enhanced conductivity and long-term environmental and electrical stability.

Achievements • Built upon an approach developed by Bangor University, depositing silver nanowires onto flexible substrates. • Developed a technique to produce one of the best combinations of low sheet resistance (RSH = 8Ω/sq) and high transparency (88% in visibleSWIR spectrum) of any transparent electrode material mentioned as an ITO replacement. • Demonstrated that the electrodes can be integrated into functional organic and perovskite solar cells.

Further developments • Two funded PhD students have been secured via an industrial partner (UPS2) based upon outcomes from this work. • Filed a patent which reports a process to deposit silver nanowiresonto a flexible substrate and subsequent post-processing in order to improve the electrical and topological properties.

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Dr Jeff Kettle: j.kettle@bangor.ac.uk. SEM image of the conducting surface of a silver nanowire electrode

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

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RESEARCH

ITAPPE – Interconnection technologies for integration of active devices with printed plastic electronics INVESTIGATORS GUANGBIN DOU ANDREW HOLMES INSTITUTION IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS CENTRE FOR PROCESS INNOVATION PRAGMATIC TRIBUS-D

Printed electronic circuits on low‐temperature plastic substrates have enormous potential across a range of markets, including automotive windows, wearable devices, healthcare devices and smart labels. These large-area electronic (LAE) systems invariably require active electronic devices, either conventional silicon chips or flexible integrated circuits1 (ICs). Fast and cost-effective methods are therefore needed for attaching active devices to low-temperature plastic electronic substrates. Currently the favoured approach is to use isotropic conductive adhesive (ICA) packaging, whereby a conductive adhesive is selectively deposited onto the substrate at sites where electrical connection is required. The active device is then placed in position, and the adhesive is cured. The ITAPPE project investigated several alternative approaches, including Non-Conductive Adhesive (NCA) packaging, thermosonic bonding (TS) and a hybrid thermosonic-adhesive (TS-A) process, to deliver higher efficiency at the point of assembly and increased throughput and reliability.

Non-Conductive Adhesive (NCA) NCA packaging involves applying an adhesive over the entire device area. Electrical connections are made as the adhesive pulls conductive bumps on the active device into contact with the pads on the substrate. It is similar in implementation to Anisotropic Conductive Adhesive (ACA) packaging where electrical connections are mediated by conducting particles in the adhesive. NCA packaging offers lower material cost but can suffer from lower reliability.

Thermosonic Bonding (TS) The ITAPPE Pathfinder project has been an invaluable way to explore a potentially game-changing packaging technology for flexible electronics. Dr Richard Price, Chief Technology Officer, PragmatIC

TS uses a combination of heat, pressure and ultrasonic energy to facilitate the formation of direct metal-metal bonds between the chip bumps and the substrate pads at lower temperatures and pressures than would be required for thermo‐ compression bonding.

Step 1

Step 2

TS bonding tool vacuum hole

metal track pad

NCA

bump

active device

plastic substrate

Step 3

Step 4

pressure, heat and ultrasonic energy TS bonding interface

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Professor Andrew Holmes (a.holmes@imperial. ac.uk) or Dr Guangbin Dou (g.dou@imperial.ac.uk).

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active device

active device

Figure 1. Thermosonic-adhesive packaging process combining NCA packaging with thermosonic bonding.

1

thermally cured NCA

In this context “flexible integrated circuits” refers to circuits formed of thin film devices on a flexible lowtemperature plastic substrate rather than “thinned silicon” integrated circuits which are silicon chips that have been mechanically thinned to the point that the silicon itself becomes flexible.

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


Thermosonic-Adhesive (TS-A) TS-A packaging is a novel, hybrid approach in which a thermosonic step is incorporated into the NCA process as shown in Figure 1. It seamlessly combines NCA and TS packaging, enabling a low cost, low temperature and reliable packaging solution for attaching ICs to flexible circuits.

Objectives • Investigate the use of NCA packaging as an alternative route for integrating active devices on low temperature substrates. • Explore the feasibility of using TS bonding to form metal-metal micro‐joints between active devices and substrate pads. • Explore the feasibility of including a TS step in NCA packaging to improve reliability. • Establish processes suitable for low-temperature polymer substrates with printed conductors, including appropriate methods for handling flexible ICs.

The support from the Centre has been excellent and this project has particularly benefited from professional industry links supplied by the Centre. Dr Guangbin Dou, Centre researcher at Imperial College London

Achievements ITAPPE was initially established as a 6-month project but was extended to 12 months following promising early results. The main achievements are summarised below. • Successful demonstration of NCA processes for attaching both silicon chips and flexible ICs to PET substrates. Silicon-to-flex assemblies showed excellent performance in reliability tests. • Successful demonstration of a TS process for attaching flexible ICs to PET substrates. This is a high-throughput approach because TS bonding is fast (<1s bonding time achievable). • Development of a novel thermosonic-adhesive (TS-A) packaging process combining NCA and TS approaches. • Benchmarking of the ITAPPE approaches against more conventional anisotropic conducting adhesive (ACA) packaging using Ag printed PET substrates. This confirmed that NCA and TS bonding could perform as well as ACA packaging.

Further developments The success of the ITAPPE project led to the development of a new flagship project, SIPEM (page 24), which proposed a novel system integration concept for LAE based on laminated multilayer structures with embedded electronic components. Figure 2. Examples of assemblies produced in ITAPPE: Silicon-to-flex by NCA (top); Flex-to-flex by TS (middle); Flex-to-flex by TS-A (bottom).

Benefits The processes investigated in ITAPPE offer the following benefits: • Efficiency at the point of assembly – selective deposition of adhesive not required. • Lower cost – NCA materials are cheaper than conductive adhesives. • Higher throughput in the case of TS bonding. • Higher reliability – TS-A process has potential for higher reliability than NCA. • Flex-on-Flex packaging capability. • Scalable to finer interconnect pitches which will become important in the future.

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

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INDUSTRY INTERACTION CASE STUDY

ITAPPE workshop

Engaging industry to inform and shape academic research The Centre supported two-way communication and collaboration between industry and academia. One approach successfully used for all our major research projects involved holding workshops with relevant industry representatives to create opportunities for industry to shape research priorities and ensure that the research aligned with industry needs. On September 12, 2017, the Centre hosted a workshop to report the research progress of the ITAPPE project. Project researchers interacted with relevant industry representatives, informed them of potential improvements on the horizon but also, critically, allowed industry input and experience to steer future research. Presentations and Q&A sessions were highly collaborative, academics passed questions over to those in industry for fuller, practical answers and there was a lot of agreement over shared experiences. Input from

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industry followed the lines of “from what we saw…”, “this is something we deal with a lot…”, “if you go to industry with that, this is what they will ask…” – exactly the type of industrial engagement needed for refining research objectives and maximising the commercial impact of the project. Feedback during this workshop led the ITAPPE project to run benchmark comparisons of the electrical performance, temperature/humidity reliability and mechanical reliability of the flex-on-flex packaging process developed in ITAPPE against more conventional bonding methods a step which has added commercial weight to the ITAPPE approach by finding it performs just as well as the standard packaging process.

The ITAPPE Workshop had a constructive format where everyone participated to shape the future direction of the research work. Steve Riches, Director, Tribus-D Ltd

The day was well received by all involved and the productive exchanges by various organisations with shared interests were invaluable for the researchers and ITAPPE project.

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


RESEARCH

FlexEn – Flexible printed energy storage

INVESTIGATORS PRITESH HIRALAL GEHAN AMARATUNGA INSTITUTION UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE

Thin, flexible printed energy storage devices are required to provide power for many large-area printed electronic devices. Energy harvesting for real-time usage has been in place for some time, but a suitable, printed rechargeable store of energy is lacking. Supercapacitors have been presented as a possible solution, and are indeed suitable for a limited number of applications, but suffer from short energy retention times due to leakage currents and low energy densities. A few printed batteries, based on zinc chemistry are present, but are non-rechargeable and designed for single use. Following on from the development of a printable zinc based chemistry - which is rechargeable - the FlexEn project aimed to produce pastes to demonstrate the viability of screen printing for producing rechargeable batteries which can be easily integrated with other printed devices.

Objectives: • Formulate rechargeable, printable zinc-based electrodes into pastes suitable for screen printing.

Achievements: Schematic showing the structure of an electrode with Zinc nanoparticles embedded within a conducting reduced oxide matrix

• Formulated all electrode components for zinc based batteries into screen printable pastes - with optimised rheology and particle size. • Demonstrated viability of using a commercial screen-printing press to produce electrodes achieving satisfactory electrochemical performance, although printed device performance was lower than that of non-printed counterparts.

Further developments Led to the formation of a start-up company, Zinergy.

INDUSTRY INTERACTION CASE STUDY The FlexEn project and battery capabilities attracted investor interest, resulting in the formation of a start-up company, Zinergy, that is developing printed, flexible batteries. Credit: © Zinergy

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar work, contact Zinergy CEO, Dr Pritesh Hiralal: pritesh@zinergy-power.com

Zinergy has engineered a revolutionary ink which can be tailored to the clients’ needs, delivering batteries of any shape or size. • Zinergy’s non-rechargeable cells are going into production at the time of writing. • The company currently employs 6 people. • Filed patent applications to protect its IP. • Raised significant private capital. • Zinergy has led three Innovate UK funded projects, including: - Graphene-enhanced, thin, flexible printed battery for electronic wearable and IoT devices (FLEXIBAT)), a project consortium with 6 UK partners and a budget of ca. £1.4 million. • See more at: www.zinergy-power.com

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

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RESEARCH

MFBBN – Multiphoton fabrication of bioelectronic biomaterials for neuromodulation INVESTIGATORS JOHN HARDY FRANCES EDWARDS RESEARCHER PUNARJA KEVIN INSTITUTIONS LANCASTER UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS GALVANI KANICHI RESEARCH SERVICES

Electromagnetic fields affect a variety of tissues (e.g. bone, muscle, nerve and skin) and play important roles in a multitude of biological processes. This has inspired the development of electrically conducting devices for biomedical applications, several examples of which have been clinically translated, including: cardiac pacemakers, bionic eyes, bionic ears and electrodes for deep brain stimulation. The MFBBN project aimed to use multiphoton fabrication to print electrically conducting polymer-based materials with nanoscale features that would enable the electrical stimulation of individual nerves, which may be used to treat a variety of debilitating chronic diseases.

Objectives • Use multiphoton fabrication to print conducting biomaterials for neuromodulation. • Preparation of conducting polymer-based materials using multiphoton fabrication on hard and soft/flexible substrates. • Characterise the material’s physicochemical and electrical properties using microscopy, electrochemistry and spectroscopy. • Validation of the efficacy of the bioelectronic devices to interact with brain tissue ex vivo (in collaboration with Frances Edwards at UCL Neuroscience).

Achievements

Dr Daniel Chew, Director, Neuromodulation Translational Sciences, Galvani Bioelectronics

Technical efficacy: Conducting polymer structure printed on a soft/flexible substrate Scale Increasing Conductivity

Together this academicindustry partnership has the mutual objective of advancing clinical opportunities in medical technology, advancement of scientific endeavour through publications, and providing security for intellectual property for the purpose of securing a path to commercialisation.

• Completed multiphoton fabrication of 2D and 3D materials on hard and flexible substrates with micron- and nano- scale features. • Printed conducting polymers within a flexible substrate with protruding contact points for a power source and biological tissue. • Materials characterized as homogeneous and conductive (prerequisite for biological utility). • Demonstrated the biological utility of the structures by recording a physiological response to electrical stimulation of the brain tissue.

Biological efficacy: Conducting polymer structure interacts with brain tissue

For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Dr John Hardy: j.g.hardy@lancaster.ac.uk

Brain tissue Voltage stimulator

Patch Clamp Amplifier

6µM gabazine (EPSCs)

6µM gabazine + 20µM CNQX 20pA

Opportunities to get involved

20ms 10V x 80µs stimulus

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10V x 80µs stimulus

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


RESEARCH

OPCAP – Offset lithographic printing of nanocomposite barium titanate capacitors INVESTIGATOR BOB STEVENS RESEARCHERS NERANGA ABEYWICKRAMA SIMON THOMPSON INSTITUTION NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS NANOPRODUCTS NOVACENTRIX PROMETHEAN PARTICLES BOWATER

SMART labels have the ability to sense and measure their local environment and wirelessly send measurements to a receiver such as a mobile phone or RFID reader. To function correctly, such electronic systems need a number of discrete components in addition to the silicon integrated circuits. In general, the ‘discretes’ are passive components such as resistors, capacitors and inductors. Printed hybrid flexible electronics combine conventional silicon devices with printed electronic circuit components on low cost flexible substrates - increasing throughput and decreasing the manufacturing costs and capital investment needed to meet market demand and production targets. OPCAP investigated the use of offset lithography for printing high-K dielectric parallel plate capacitors to remove the need for discrete capacitors.

Objectives: • Investigate a new nanoparticle loaded UV curable ink made from barium titanate nanoparticles. • Use offset lithographic printing to deposit the barium titanate ink onto different substrates, photonically sinter the dielectric layers to remove the polymers in the ink, and maximize the capacitance per unit area.

Achievements: • Formulated UV curable barium titanate ink with varying barium titanate nanoparticle loadings. • Demonstrated feasibility of offset lithographic printing to produce flexible capacitors on flexible polymer substrates and the printed capacitor test devices exhibited low leakage current.

Offset printed BaTiO3 layers on printed graphene electrode

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Professor Bob Stevens: bob.stevens@ntu.ac.uk.

TEM analysis of BaTiO3 nanoparticles - 10nm and 50nm

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RESEARCH

LAFLEXEL – Laser annealing for improved flexible electronics INVESTIGATORS DEMOSTHENES KOUTSOGEORGIS NIKOLAOS KALFAGIANNIS THOMAS ANTHOPOULOS HENNING SIRRINGHAUS RESEARCHERS JOHN ARMITAGE SPILIOS DELLIS IVAN ISAKOV INSTITUTIONS NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE INDUSTRIAL PARTNER PRAGMATIC

The LAFLEXEL project delivered high performance metal-oxide thin-film transistors (TFTs) on flexible substrates by introducing an excimer laser annealing (ELA) process. Laser annealing is an ultra-fast and macroscopically cold process which avoids the harmful effect of thermal processing and can thus be used in conjunction with temperature sensitive substrates - for example, when treating components built onto polymeric substrates. A laser beam is moved and manipulated rapidly to process large areas, while maintaining high spatial resolution for selective patterning / annealing. The process can significantly enhance performance and reduce costs for high-tech applications by offering precise control, robustness, extended lifetime, high capacity and lower consumable expenses. In the project, Laser Annealing process technology was provided by Drs Koutsogeorgis and Kalfagiannis of Nottingham Trent University. Device and coating samples were provided by Prof Sirringhaus of Cambridge and Prof Anthopoulos of Imperial College and by industrial partner, PragmatIC.

Objectives • Identify the most appropriate laser annealing system design and processing parameters. • Fabricate high performance metal oxide TFTs on flexible substrates by incorporating laser annealing.

Achievements • Fabricated InOx-based TFTs, prepared by spin-coating - in collaboration with Imperial College London. - Metal oxide conversion was confirmed with mobility reaching 14cm2/Vs (as high as photochemically activated InOx TFTs). - ELA changed the electrical characteristics in specific areas of the film, eliminating the need for a photolithographic step and resulting in very low leakage current and good ON-OFF current ratio. • Fabricated InZnO TFTs using employing a three step annealing process: two mild thermal annealing steps (at 120°C, compatible with polymeric substrates) separated by an ELA step - in collaboration with University of Cambridge. - Similar performance but highly improved threshold voltage, compared to thermally annealed counterparts. Drawing of the laser annealed areas of the wafers. The fluence used for annealing of every area is colour coordinated and indicated.

• Fabricated high performance a-IGZO (sputtered) TFTs on flexible substrates - in collaboration with PragmatIC. - Effort focused on improving stability and reproducibility of devices, which could lead to reduced production costs.

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Dr Demosthenes Koutsogeorgis: demosthenes. koutsogeorgis@ntu.ac.uk.

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EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


RESEARCH

IQ-PET – In-line quality-control of UV offset lithographically printed electronic ink by THz technology INVESTIGATORS BIN YANG ROBERT DONNAN BOB STEVENS RESEARCHER MARC EDWARDS INSTITUTIONS UNIVERSITY OF CHESTER NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS NANO PRODUCTS TETECHS TERAVIEW NSI-MI-EUROPE

A wide range of electronic materials can be printed onto diverse substrates to realise multifunctional electronic systems. Consequently, large-area electronics printers require non-contact, reliable, fast and low cost in-line quality control for continuous, high-speed printing. Terahertz (THz) radiation is intrinsically safe, non-ionising and non-destructive. Detecting reflected THz radiation from unique coherent sources makes it possible to create spectroscopic information and 3D images with improved signal-to-noise and accurate complex amplitude data. The IQ-PET project investigated the feasibility of deploying this technique to achieve real-time, in-line quality-control in a commercial offset press.

Objectives: • Investigate changes in THz spectra at each stage of the UV Offset printing process for electrically conductive inks. • Develop software and hardware to investigate the potential of using THz based quality control within high-speed sheet-to-sheet and roll-to-roll production lines.

Achievements: • Demonstrated and compared 4 types of THz-based quality control prototypes and data analysis software packages. • Demonstrated that THz radiation can supply the imaging mapping, and further quantified dielectric and conductive parameters that other technologies cannot offer. • Developed software and hardware that can be amended to produce industrial practice prototypes.

Further developments • Bin Yang is working with a new industrial partner, VisionMetric (VM) Ltd, exploring the use of their new AI technology to enhance imaging quality. - The team has been awarded a knowledge transfer fund award from University of Chester. - The team has been awarded a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) grant. • Bin Yang continues to conduct research with Nano Products Ltd, achieving new high-quality results for resolution and speed. (a) Photograph of a printed silver sample on a polymer film, with the 1D scanning area indicated by the red rectangle (a 50 mm long strip with a THz spot dimension of 3 mm). (b) Reflected intensity of the THz signal. (c) SEM micrograph of black rectangular area in (a).

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Dr Bin Yang: b.yang@chester.ac.uk.

THz imaging results of silver ink interdigital electrodes (insert, with line width 32 µm) printed on thin polyethylene film based substrate. The left plot maps absorption rate (cm-1) and the right plot maps phase angle (π,-π).

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME

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RESEARCH

SIMLIFT – Towards single micron LIFT technology

INVESTIGATORS DAVIDE DEGANELLO DAVID BEYNON DAVID GETHIN RESEARCHER BEN CLIFFORD INSTITUTION SWANSEA UNIVERSITY

Laser Induced Forward Transfer (LIFT) is a key enabling technology for large area processing of printed electronics, capable of printing a wide range of materials rapidly and digitally. A major barrier for large-scale implementation and adoption of the technology is the current achievable printing resolution, commonly reliably limited to tens of microns. In LIFT, a donor substrate ink carrier is locally irradiated by a short pulse laser causing the transfer of material from the donor layer to a receiving substrate. The donor layer and laser processing are keys for precision patterning. The SIMLIFT project optimised various parameters associated with the LIFT process to overcome current limits and achieve higher resolution fine features.

Objectives INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS OXFORD LASERS MICROSEMI NEUDRIVE NSG PRAGMATIC

SIMLIFT aimed to analyse: • The effect of varying thin film donor deposition processes on film morphology and resulting transfer. • The effect of varying the laser pulse duration that dictates the physical ejection mechanism (namely from nanosecond, picosecond, to femtosecond level duration pulsed lasers). • The accuracy of laser processing through the novel integration of new microlens arrays for affordable accurate digital patterning.

Achievements Oxford Lasers continues to develop processes and tools for printed electronics and introduced the ‘FLEXeLASE’ laser micromachining station for laser microprinting, sintering and patterning at IDTechEx in April 2019. Building on the work of the SIMLIFT project and its systematic laser parametric study, Oxford Lasers improved the resolution of laser printing by an order of magnitude, realising sub-15 micron printed features. This capability is now available with the FLEXeLASE’ tool and associated process recipes.

• The project assessed different thin film deposition methods (spin coating, blade coating, roll coating) analysing uniformity, associated ink rheology and optical transmission. - This allowed the definition of the most suitable conditions for LIFT in terms of quality and compatibility with industrial large-area electronics manufacture. • A nanosecond DPSS laser was used to assess the effect of donor-acceptor gap, speed, power and donor thickness on donor material deposition. - Using these insights, the team were able to produce fine lines with an average width of 12 microns.

Further developments • Successful results of SIMLIFT have enabled Oxford Lasers to increase its technological expertise in LIFT technology. - They have developed “FLEXeLASE” - a new generation laser machining station with integrated laser printing facilities. - SIMLIFT was instrumental for Oxford Lasers’ contribution to the European Horizon 2020 Project - HiperLAM – aimed at advancing high performance laser-additive manufacturing.

Dr Dimitris Karnakis, Oxford Lasers

Opportunities to get involved For further project details and opportunities to get involved in similar or follow-on work, contact Dr Davide Deganello: D.Deganello@swansea.ac.uk.

380µm+

80µm

45µm

Improved Ink rheology, layer deposition, laser processing

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12µm


RESEARCH

PhD studentships

Panagiotis Mougkogiannis I am fascinated by the academic excellence, the beautiful research facilities and all the vibrant activities that the organization offers. I have been inspired by the hard work and the dedication of the EPSRC researchers in the areas that I have visited and am extremely grateful for the time they have spent with me. Panagiotis Mougkogiannis, PhD student at the University of Manchester

Printable Chemical Sensors Based on Organic Field Effect Transistors. My PhD focuses on developing sensing devices using high-performance organic field effect transistors (OFETs). Our approach involves incorporating conductive polymers with organic binders and biological elements to build high performance, air stable OFET devices that can operate at low voltages using only solution-based processes. These field effect transistors have demonstrated promising applications offering simplicity and sensitivity at room temperature operation. Our experiments ascertain the electrical and morphological characterisation of solution processed OFETs for detection of low concentrations of ammonia, ethanol, acetone and esters regardless of humidity, which is important for environmental applications and in the health care sector (e.g. clinical diagnostics). The sensors will be incorporated into an array to differentiate between the gases. Production of low-cost organic electronics will play a key role in the adoption of new technologies at an industrial scale - and exploration of new market opportunities.

Shengyang Chen The Centre bridges the gap between industry and academia, enabling us to have the best of both worlds. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m really proud of, and grateful for, becoming a student at the Centre. Shengyang Chen, PhD student at Imperial College

Organic materials continue to make an impact on a wide variety of optoelectronic applications due to an ever-increasing chemical design space, novel tools to assemble these interesting materials, and novel device architectures. Various devices and applications require the active material to be patterned and/or deposited at pre-determined locations on the scale of hundreds of nanometres to microns. For example in bioelectronics, we may achieve step-changes by using stimuli-responsive functional organic materials to create more complex, multidimensional architectures that mimic the hierarchical structures of, e.g., tissues or bones. Other potential lies in nano- and micro-engineering multifaceted structures to realise new media with unique interactions with electromagnetic radiation, leading to new possibilities to harvest light and manipulate light-matter interactions. In our project, we use model systems to demonstrate hierarchical assembly of organic nanoparticles, covering a range of systems, from inert polystyrene particles to conjugated polymer emitter particles. We show that surface relief structures can be used to direct this process. Simple geometrical relationships can be used to deposit particles into specific sites and patterns: from ordered to disordered arrangements; hexagonally-packed, cubic-packed or randompacked structures; to single layer vs. multilayer architectures. The whole process is solution-processable, leading to favourable processing efficiency for industry, and compatibility with roll-2-roll processing. This allows us to open a versatile and practical design platform for the fabrication of multifunctional nano- and microstructures with hierarchies for use in the fields such as solar cells, optical displays and bioelectronic devices over large areas.

Image showcasing how optical effects can be tuned in a surface relief structure without (left) and with (right) functional conjugated polymer particles assembled within.

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Pelumi Oluwasanya Industry engagement through the CIMLAE has facilitated the development of new collaboration from Applied Nanodetectors (AND) in developing a MEMS-based version of my PhD research, through a new EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award, opening up possibilities for new partnerships between the university as a whole and AND. I’m very grateful to the Centre for providing this platform.

My PhD research hopes to develop low cost, miniaturised sensors for monitoring air pollution – specifically particulate matter less than 2.5µm in diameter. These fine particles are dangerous as, once inhaled, they can penetrate deep into the human body. The most successful commerciallyavailable small particulate sensors use light scattering to measure particulate concentrations. In small sensors this method has difficulty accurately recognising fine particles. This PhD aims to evaluate whether miniaturised sensors might detect fine particles (< 2.5µm diameter) using impedance-based techniques. Objectives include providing a means of separating particles of different sizes from particle laden flow, designing a sensor capable of particle adhesion and detection and characterising the sensor in relevant environments. So far we have developed a few iterations of the device, have secured funding to develop the MEMS-based version and are collaborating with industry partner Applied Nanodetectors to commercialise fully working prototypes.

Pelumi Oluwasanya, PhD student at the University of Cambridge

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INDUSTRY INTERACTION CASE STUDY

MP-SENS, a collaborative R&D project

Centre contributes to consortium and breakthrough sensor platform and integration techniques needed for a smart hybrid sensor module.

The all-in-one smart sensor module being added to the handheld demonstrator

Applied Nanodetectors, a leading developer and supplier of nanosensor-based solutions, secured innovate UK funding for an ambitious cross-disciplinary project to develop manufacturing processes for hybrid sensor modules (MP-SENS). The company uses nanomaterials to develop sensor arrays which can be used as chemical and biosensors across a number of markets. There remains a key market requirement – the integration of sensor die into a smart sensor module which includes signal conditioning, analogue-digital conversion, signal processing and digital output. This project aim was to develop the manufacturing methods

Applied Nanodetectors approached the Centre to access expertise to complement existing consortium participants, resulting in a productive collaboration with Dr Luigi Occhipinti, Director of Research in Graphene and Related Technologies, at Cambridge University, formerly Centre’s National Outreach Manager, and a team at Cambridge University, Electrical Engineering, comprising centre student, Pelumi Oluwasanya, and research associates Dr Varindra Kumar and Dr Abdullah Alzaharani, under Dr Occhipinti’s supervision. This completed project developed accurate, dependable gas sensor arrays on flexible substrates and delivered an ‘all in one’ miniature hybrid module with sensors, signal conditioning electronics and MCU on a common footprint whose prototype has been showcased at trade shows and to potential customers ready for market trials. These smart sensor modules fit a standard physical space which can easily slot in and out of a convenient hand-held device, for breath analysis and food spoilage monitoring, or being integrated in compact and conformable form factor for smart packaging and wearable applications. This customisable

A hand-held demonstrator incorporating sensor array

design allows sensors to be added and discarded as needed and enables increased functionality to penetrate multiple new markets for example, health analyses through breath sensing or food spoilage monitoring and integration into ‘smart environments’. The design and cost-effective manufacture of smart sensorassistive technologies can positively impact human wellness and there is already significant market pull from the healthcare sector for this breakthrough sensor platform.

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National Centre

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Large-area electronics is an emerging industry with many technologies encompassed within the umbrella term, “LAE”. Rather than focussing on one particular technology, the Centre decided to focus its efforts nationally on growing and bringing together the academic and industrial LAE communities to accelerate growth across the whole sector through better understanding of market needs and technology solutions.

The innoLAE conference

Thought leadership

It is important that academic research in LAE addresses commercially relevant challenges and particularly so for a manufacturing research centre like CIMLAE. It is also important for industry to understand the latest advances from academic research to strengthen and accelerate innovation and to avoid reinventing the wheel. A key initiative of the Centre was therefore to create a meeting place for the UK’s academic and industrial communities in LAE: the 2 day innoLAE conference. This was necessary because there hadn’t been a regular major event in LAE in the UK since 2009. First run in 2015, the Innovations in Large-Area Electronics (innoLAE) conference has maintained its unique 50:50 balance of academic and industrial delegates and has grown each year. In 2019, the conference attracted 302 delegates and 24 exhibitors. Of course, customers for LAE may be located anywhere in the world, and we were pleased to see significant growth in our international attendance, with attendees from 21 countries present in 2019. InnoLAE has also become a recruitment vehicle for companies looking for skilled researchers, such as those who have been working on Centre projects, with 8 of our postdoctoral researchers now in industrial positions, many with Centre collaborators. Plans are now well advanced to transfer the running of the conference to a commercial organisation to position it for further growth.

LAE is, in essence, a new way of making electronics offering customer benefits including new form factors. LAE incorporates many different functional technologies, e.g. for emitting light, detecting light or converting it to electrical energy, controlling voltage and current in circuits, interconnecting different materials both mechanically and electrically and sensing all kinds of physical and chemical variables. It is not possible because of this fragmentation to produce a single roadmap that covers all of LAE. There are, however, some general topics that affect the entire LAE field and the Centre took the lead in bringing forward one of these topics, the Circular Economy, for discussion at innoLAE 2019. LAE is enabling new developments in smart packaging and we considered its impact on sustainability generally. We also investigated the possibility that ultra-low-cost tagging, enabled by LAE, might actually facilitate the Circular Economy by providing information wirelessly on how an object should be processed at end-of-life and on what materials it contains. Marco Meloni of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation gave an introduction to the topic of the Circular Economy as a keynote. We then tackled the specifics of how to apply circular economy thinking to LAE in a dedicated workshop involving expert speakers from the LAE industry, academia, the waste management industry and another trade body with expertise in sustainability for organic electronics.

Pathfinders. To grow the academic and industrial participation in the research programme of the Centre, we ran two open feasibility calls, “Pathfinder Calls”, open to any UK academic working in LAE, receiving 36 proposals and funding 9. The projects involved 9 academics who were not co-investigators on the main award and brought 4 new universities into the CIMLAE programme. As a condition of funding, each project was required to involve industrial collaborators and 21 companies were involved in the projects altogether. One of the projects, ITAPPE, was adopted by the Centre, following excellent results in the key area of heterogeneous integration, for follow-on funding, eventually becoming a Flagship project in its own right (SIPEM – see page 24). Another, “FlexEn”, was instrumental in facilitating the launch of Zinergy, a startup company in printable batteries, shortly after completion of the project. Others have succeeded in securing their own sources of further funding to continue the work started in the Pathfinder projects.

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Large area electronics is a very exciting field that is set to scale production in the near future. This is the right time to ensure that we make the best possible use of the resources we invest in these products. Designing large area electronics to be fit for a circular economy will help ensure that products, components and materials are kept at the highest utility at all times, retaining value, and also protecting people and the environment. While design for circularity is central, this is also a great opportunity to consider how large area electronics can help enable broader circularity and create a wider range of benefits. Marco Meloni, Research Analyst, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, innoLAE 2019 conference keynote speaker

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NATIONAL CENTRE

Large-area electronics and the Circular Economy

Plastic is choking our oceans. Sir David Attenborough told us during Blue Planet 2 that “we dump eight million tonnes of plastic into the sea every year”. It’s killing and harming marine life.1 Following the release of the documentary series, Blue Planet 2 by the BBC in 2018, there has been a massive shift of public awareness regarding the use and disposal of plastic and the impact of plastic objects and microplastics in the oceans. Fixing the problem of plastic waste is not simple, however. Whilst there are steps we can all take to minimise waste, some are seeing the roots of the issue as being in the way the economy is currently structured in a “make, use, dispose” model, rather than a circular model which aims to design out waste, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems.

This was followed by a workshop involving experts from Environmental Solutions Provider, Veolia, lowcost smart tag provider (PragmatIC), academia (EPFL) and an international industry association (OE-A) who have been active in the area of sustainability for organic and hybrid electronics. Through an open Q&A forum with the speaker panel, the speakers and the audience discussed questions such as: “To what extent will LAE add to end-of-life recycling challenges?”, “How could the industry embrace the circular economy during product design and development” and “Could LAE be part of the solution, enabling the Circular Economy or end-of-life management more broadly?” For more information on this topic please visit the Centre website.

The Centre recognised that the deployment of large-area electronics on new substrates such as plastics, paper and glass presented both a challenge and an opportunity at end-of-life. Could the presence of electronics on plastic affect recyclability, for example? Equally, could the use of very low-cost flexible smart labels actually provide wirelessly readable end-of-life information on how to disassemble products and subassemblies and even material composites to facilitate the Circular Economy?

InnoLAE was likely the first major conference in our industry, in which sustainability and the circular economy were treated as central elements. Martin Hirschmann (2019)2

In 2019 the Centre decided to address the challenge and explore the opportunity by raising this topic at the innoLAE conference – an annual event which attracts a large international audience of LAE stakeholders across academia and industry. A keynote address and workshop aimed to inform, educate and provide a forum for discussion. Keynote speaker Marco Meloni, from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, set the scene in a plenary presentation. His specialist insights introduced the Circular Economy concept alongside examples of companies who have incorporated Circular Economy principles into their business models. The challenges to applying these principles to the field of LAE sparked many interesting break-out conversations, and the Centre was particularly encouraged by spontaneous feedback during the conference indicating that delegates valued the visibility given to the topic.

1

2

World Wildlife Fund. April 2019 https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/plastics-why-we-must-act-now Martin Hirschmann (2019, March) Essential knowledge exchange. OPE journal (26), 20-22

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Outreach and networking

The Centre has taken a national leadership role, in partnership with the HVM Catapult, in supporting the growth of the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s emerging large-area electronics industry through our Industry Day and annual innoLAE conference and exhibition which continues to go from strength to strength. Chris Rider, Centre Director

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The EPSRC Centre’s vision for outreach involved building a strong, recognised UK community of academics and companies focused on LAE manufacturing excellence and commercialisation, attracting interest from new generations of scientists and increasing awareness of LAE technology amongst end-users and the public. The strategy was shaped by the nature and needs of industry. The Centre became a national hub, creating a network of UK LAE stakeholders and encouraging communication within and out from that community.

Our network reached over 1200 people from 607 companies and institutions, and our website has been viewed from 175 different countries - illustrating the scale and breadth of our network. We have also communicated and gathered followers via social media, with our twitter followers growing more than three times over, to 980, since the beginning of 2017.

Connecting with a global network The Centre engaged with academic and industrial communities by attending, exhibiting and speaking at UK and international events. As the Centre grew, the number of invited presentations, exhibition opportunities and international meetings increased. These efforts spread awareness of the Centre’s objectives, capabilities and research progress - resulting in an increase in requests for further information, plans for future collaborations and studentships submitted. The Centre exhibited at many UK conferences, including three consecutive years at the ‘Manufacturing the Future’ conference. The Centre also exhibited abroad at LOPEC, the leading international trade fair and conference for printed electronics, from 2017 to 2019. In 2019 LOPEC hosted a record 2,700 attendees at the trade show. Over the same three-year period the Centre maintained a presence at the annual European IDTechEx Show in Berlin, Germany, which attracted 2,500 attendees from 62 countries in 2019.

Industry – academia events

challenges to wider deployment and use. For example, see page 40 for an account of the ITAPPE project workshop held in 2017.

Organising networking events: building a connected community along the chain of innovation Co-organised events with organisations such the Organic and Printed Electronics Association (OE-A), NMI and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) expanded the Centre’s visibility and attracted manufacturers and end-users from far and wide to share experiences and unlock high value manufacturing opportunities. The innoLAE industry networking day co-organised with CPI ran for three consecutive years - building a reputation as the UK’s leading networking event focusing on the industrialisation of printed electronics based technologies.

The Centre organised a wide variety of events to connect industry and academia. The size, format and purposes of these events spanned invite-only project workshops to networking events attracting country-wide interest and international conferences hosting delegates, speakers and exhibitors from around the globe. The 18 centre-organised events reached 1729 attendees, 55% of which represented industry. This balance illustrates the unique and crucial emphasis put on catalysing interactions between industry and the wider LAE research community.

Organising project workshops: industry steers centre research Strategic roadmapping events invited technology experts, end-users and manufacturers to define effective programmes of work for the Centre to pursue in light of the commercial landscapes of competition, regulation and manufacturing. The Centre’s academic teams used project-specific workshops to share latest research findings with industrial representatives along the supply chain - highlighting overlapping interests and motivating direct involvement. In turn, the setting allowed industry to inform future research priorities by identifying the

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INDUSTRY INTERACTION CASE STUDY

InnoLAE industry networking day

We expected to meet some development partners and we were VERY successful. Industry day 2017 delegate Very useful for getting a sense of market needs and emerging ideas. Industry day 2018 delegate The panelists from various fields had important pointers for the technology. Industry day 2018 delegate This is a great showcase for the printed electronics sector. It goes from technology suppliers to technology users including some excellent overview of the sector. Industry day 2019 delegate Fantastic networking opportunity. Industry day 2019 delegate As a repeat attendee it is interesting to see how the field is developing, and critically where unmet needs remain. Industry day 2019 delegate

InnoLAE industry networking day is the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading annual gathering of experts in research, technology innovation and manufacturing of LAE. It has been consistently well received by attendees and has enabled the formation of local and international connections necessary to accelerate innovation in the field. 324 people have attended this networking day over the three years, representing an average of 78 organisations each year. Delegates valued the chance to learn about industry needs, discuss challenges, identify opportunities and forge collaborative links through a programme of panel discussions, 90 second company pitches, overview presentations and networking time. The event particularly aimed to unlock market opportunities by connecting companies across the LAE supply chain with technology end-users who could voice their needs and learn about emerging state-of-the-art capabilities. The panel on end-user needs has featured contributions from Jaguar Land Rover, Costain, GlaxoSmithKline, Savortex, SAATI, Unilever, ARM, Greiner, Beko and the National Institute for Health Research - covering applications in automotive, e-textiles, built environment, pharmaceuticals, packaging and the internet of things. Over 94% of all delegates agreed that their attendance was worthwhile and the overview presentations and networking sessions were often voted the most useful aspect of the day.

Industry Day company type

Large-sized enterprise

RTOs Small and medium-sized enterprises

Academia Media

Micro companies

Industry Day supply chain

End-user Materials supply Services/ design/ consultancy Device/ process

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Equipment supply Government agency/RTO Academic research


OUTREACH

Innovations in Large-Area Electronics Conference (innoLAE) Registration growth

Supporting innovation by connecting academia and industry The innoLAE conference was designed to facilitate knowledge sharing between industry and academia to encourage collaboration, support innovation and, ultimately promote the growth of the field and advance the state-of-the-art. This unique brief was motivated by the desire to disseminate centre research within the wider LAE community an ambition which was not only realised but exceeded by the success of the conference. The conference managed to attract equal and growing interest from both industry and academia researchers, manufacturers, integrators and users – establishing itself as ‘the premier UK event’, Dr Mark James, Merck Chemicals. Over 5 years the conference and preceding industry day, received registrations from 807 unique delegates representing 323 institutions across 27 countries.

Delegates During this period of growth, the conference was able to maintain the unique academia: industry balance which makes it such a productive space. Many attendees listed the vocational mix of speakers and delegates as the most valuable and distinctive characteristic of the conference.

innoLAE 2015

153

innoLAE 2016

206

innoLAE 2017

265

innoLAE 2018

286

innoLAE 2019

302

Countries represented innoLAE 2015

12

innoLAE 2016

12

innoLAE 2017

13

innoLAE 2018

14

innoLAE 2019

21

Institutions represented innoLAE 2015

79

innoLAE 2016

90

innoLAE 2017

143

innoLAE 2018

148

innoLAE 2019

156

Registration statistics for the innoLAE conference and exhibition (2015-2019), combined with the preceding innoLAE industry day (2017-2019).

Academic Industry

Best UK event. Great mix of academic and industrial presenters and attendees.

RTO

innoLAE 2019 delegate

Government Press

A good place to meet the innovators in university and industry. innoLAE 2019 programme committee member Top class delegates.

innoLAE conference delegate composition

innoLAE 2016 speaker

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The programme Delegate feedback highlights their appreciation of the quality and scope of the innoLAE programme. The conference programme committee helped the Centre deliver a consistently high calibre, uniquely balanced conference programme featuring parallel and plenary talks, topical workshops, internationally-renowned keynote speakers and innovative poster presentations. The conference has established a reputation for quality amongst academics and industry – evidenced by the constant growth, and recent steep increase, in attending countries and abstracts submitted in the call for papers.

I learned a great deal, much more than I expected. innoLAE 2015 delegate An excellent program, with some of the best “players” in the area. innoLAE 2018 speaker The quality of invited speakers has been amazing. Whilst quite large the conference is very intimate. innoLAE 2019 poster presenter

100

Speakers

80 Posters

60

Abstracts submitted

40 20 0 2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

The innoLAE programme

Each innoLAE programme featured centre research in the form of invited presentations, posters and an exhibition booth with banners, sell sheets and demonstrators. Centre staff and researchers made use of the platform to network, connect with potential collaborators and present their work to an international audience.

Sponsorship The conference’s growing reputation encouraged increasing sponsorship investment, with innoLAE 2019 receiving the highest number of conference sponsors. Sixteen organisations sponsored at least one innoLAE conference. Five of these sponsors choose to continue sponsoring subsequent conferences, with NovaCentrix returning as gold sponsor of the poster prize every year, and CPI taking platinum sponsorship for the past three years.

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Excellent conference - it has established a significant position in the UK Large Area Electronics sector.

I think the mix of speakers and exhibitors is great - it really supports the principles of innovation.

innoLAE 2016 sponsor

innoLAE 2017 delegate

Our company exhibited for a 3rd year at innoLAE and each year we find new collaborators and partners and I learn something new, which is great.

A must attend event for all those involved in printed/emerging electronics. innoLAE 2019 Conference exhibitor

innoLAE 2017 exhibitor

Exhibition The conference exhibition showcased leading companiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; expertise, facilities and latest developments - providing value to the delegates as well as to the 42 companies who exhibited over the five years. This valuable opportunity to engage with a highly targeted audience from multiple countries allowed exhibitors to raise brand awareness, generate new leads and find new talent. Exhibitors also commented on the value of staying up-to-date with the fieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s progress and stateof-the-art. The innoLAE conference has become recognised as a key LAE event on academic and industrial calendars.

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Researcher training

The fact that I worked in a multidisciplinary group, was granted access to the state-ofthe-art facilities and equipment of Imperial College, had a sum of financial resources at my disposal, and was offered several networking opportunities through the Centre, served as the stepping stone to the thereafter upward trajectory of my career. Dr Dimitra G. Georgiadou, Research Fellow, Imperial College London

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Centre researchers conducted industry-relevant, industry-informed research in world class facilities across 4 UK centres of excellence. Researchers benefitted not only from the academic excellence of each institution, but also from the ability to tap into the multi-disciplinary expertise of the Centre’s entire academic community and national network of industry contacts. Researchers were thus able to develop the valuable technical, industrial and collaborative skills to pursue careers within industry or research with industrial application.

The researcher cohort included 37 post-doctoral researchers and 15 PhD or MRes students who were involved in Centre projects or collaborative projects with industry. Whilst the majority of the cohort remain in UK academic roles, e.g. completing their PhDs, eight of our researchers have found employment in UK industry and a further three have undertaken a secondment at an industry partner, marking a significant contribution of the Centre to the UK industry. Nine of our researchers are now working overseas, reflecting the international nature of the LAE industry.

Researcher development within the Centre

meet everyone involved in the Centre, to understand the work happening in other projects, explore potential collaborations between disciplines and sites within the broader Centre, and develop their ideas about the commercialisation of LAE. Cohort workshops were an ‘Interesting way to meet new people and see different view-points from different disciplines’, and researchers found that ‘Interacting with like-minded people in a good environment is really helpful and inspires enthusiasm.’ As a national centre, we organised events, workshops and international conferences to broaden this network even further to include international researchers, leaders in the field and new industrial collaborators.

The Centre community - comprising students, researchers, investigators, steering group members and operations staff - provided mutual support, motivation and professional development for every member. Regular cohort workshops gave researchers the opportunity to

I have grown with the aid of the Centre: the annual InnoLAE conferences and cohort meetings always raise my sights and motivate me to convert more of my research work into practical use. The Centre directors and staff are friendly, insightful and accessible whenever there is a bottle neck. Shengyang Chen, PhD student at Imperial College The Centre is powerful in providing innovative manufacturing research, hands-on industrial processing experience and creating a national network of expertise in manufacturing knowledge. Dr Sheida Faraji, Research associate at the University of Manchester I have benefitted immensely from my affiliation to the EPSRC Centre. I feel fortunate to be a part of this inspiring community of individuals with such wide-ranging skills and experiences. Edward Tan, PhD student at the University of Cambridge

Being part of the Centre has connected me with researchers from across the country. Events such as cohort meetings and the innoLAE conference have allowed me to meet people in person, leading to conversations that have cross-fertilised new ideas. Dr Stuart Higgins, Former Centre researcher at the University of Cambridge (now Research Associate at Imperial College London)

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Researcher development at the academiaindustry interface Centre researchers keenly felt the value of working directly with industry. The unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience of industry’s manufacturing challenges developed their expertise in the field and informed their future approaches to experimental design, research methodologies and career goals. Many revelled in the close connection to industry, motivated by real-world applications and ‘shape of things to come’.

This experience of both academia and industry helped me to develop skills of communication and understand the importance of collaboration. It gave me confidence and clear goals to find a new job. Dr Abhay A. Sagade, Former Centre researcher at University of Cambridge (now Associate Professor of Physics at SRM University Chennai) The opportunity I had to work directly with companies and industry has been invaluable. I find the insight around how products are developed in industry, and the constraints of bringing an idea to market, routinely inform how I design applied research experiments. Dr Stuart Higgins, Former Centre researcher at the University of Cambridge (now Research Associate at Imperial College London) Being part of the Centre has given an interesting spin to my academic career. Whilst focusing on developing cutting-edge technologies, collaboration with industrial partners added the dimension of technology application and transfer. Dr Iyad Nasrallah, Former Centre researcher at University of Cambridge (Now Senior Device Engineer, SmartKem Ltd.) For the last four years I have been working at the interface of fundamental research and industrial exploitation. The lesson learnt is that fundamental science is a sine qua non for technological progress but also that it is imperative for academics to have an understanding of industrial needs and to work together towards delivering technological breakthroughs and creating the appliances of the future. Dr Dimitra Georgiadou, Former Centre researcher at Imperial College London (now Research Fellow, Imperial College London) The innoLAE conference was a fountain of new ideas and a perfect place for networking. As I have been working on industry-motivated research, the industrial networking informed me of various opportunities for future collaboration and my career. I am deeply grateful to the Centre for all their support. Dr Moon Kang, Research Associate at University of Cambridge The hands-on experience in scaling-up a piece of technology developed in our laboratory with an industrial partner has been eye-opening and changed the way I approach my research methodology. The experience so far has made me consider pursuing a future career path that involves being at this interface between the forefront of scientific knowledge and real-time world industrial application. Dr Aiman Rahmanudin, Research Associate at the University of Manchester

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Our people Operations Team

Chris Rider

Dr Mark Leadbeater

Vika Lebedeva-Baxter

Dr Philip Cooper

Dr Luigi Occhipinti

Cara Parrett

Donata Gilliland

Co-investigators

Professor Thomas Anthopoulos

Professor Donal Bradley

Professor Tim Claypole

Dr Dan Curtis

Professor Andrew Flewitt

Professor David Gethin

Professor Andrew Holmes

Professor Arokia Nathan

Professor Krishna Persaud

Professor Henning Sirringhaus

Dr Paul Stavrinou

Professor Natalie Stingelin-Stutzmann

Professor Mike Turner

Professor Rhodri Williams

Professor Stephen Yeates

OUR PEOPLE

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Project investigators

Professor Gehan Amaratunga

Dr David Beynon

Dr Davide Deganello

Dr Robert Donnan

Dr Guangbin Dou

Professor Piotr Dudek

Professor Frances Edwards

Dr John Hardy

Dr Pritesh Hiralal

Dr Nikolaos Kalfagiannis

Dr Jeff Kettle

Dr Demosthenes Koutsogeorgis

Dr Leszek Majewski

Professor Bob Stevens

Dr Bin Yang

Dr Neranga Abeywickrama

Dr Atefeh Amin

Dr Ioan Botiz

Dr James Claypole

Dr Ben Clifford

Dr Ehsan Danesh

Dr Spilios Dellis

Dr Marc Edwards

Dr Sheida Faraji

Dr Suresh Garlapati

Dr Dimitra Georgiadou

Dr Sanjay Ghosh

Dr Sankara Gollu

Dr Stuart Higgins

Dr Alex Holder

Researchers

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Dr Punarja Kevin

Dr Venukrishnan Komanduri

Dr Tatyana Korochkina

Dr Abhishek Kumar

Dr Jaime Martin

Dr Kang Moon

Dr Tim Mortensen

Dr Youmna Mouhammad

Dr Iyad Nasrallah

Dr Kham Niang

Dr Vincenzo Pecunia

Dr Kiron Prabha-Rajeev

Dr Aiman Rahmanudin

Dr Dale Rogers

Dr Abhay Sagade

Dr James Semple

Dr Antony Sou

Dr Daniel Tate

Dr Simon Thompson

Dr Palaniappan Valliappan

Dr Gwenhivir Wyatt-Moon

OUR PEOPLE

65


Students

John Armitage

Dr Philip Calado

Shengyang Chen

Bastian Hähnle

Supamas Nitnara

Pelumi Oluwasanya

Edward Tan

Vanessa Tischler

Panagiotis Mougkogiannis

Steering Group & Advisory Board

66

Dr Jeremy Burroughes

Dr Neil Chilton

Dr Andrew Clarke

Dr Natasha Conway

Dr Adrian Geisow

Dr Tom Harvey

Dr Alan Hodgson

Dr Mark James

Professor Tony Killard

Professor Don Lupo

Dr Simon Ogier

Dr Richard Price

Andy Sellars

Professor Paul Shore

Malcolm Stewart

Professor Martin Taylor

Professor Ian Underwood

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


Centre members at innoLAE conferences from 2015 (top) to 2019 (bottom).

OUR PEOPLE

67


Our partners

Industry and RTO partners

68

EPSRC CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING IN LARGE-AREA ELECTRONICS FINAL REVIEW


UK academic partners

Centre university partners

Sponsored by

OUR PARTNERS

69


www.largeareaelectronics.org

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics - Final Review (2019)  

As we complete our planned programme of research, made possible by the financial support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research C...

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics - Final Review (2019)  

As we complete our planned programme of research, made possible by the financial support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research C...

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