The Future of Printed Electronics Products – Interactive Cover Page (Demonstrator)

14.11.2013 | id:34187

The integration of thin and flexible electronics opens up new possibilities for classically printed products. Light, sound, displays, power or sensors can be integrated into traditional print products like journals, brochures or packaging, thereby enhancing their functionality. Interactive print products provide additional functionality and new possibilities for industries such as advertising.

In order to illustrate new possibilities, the limited, special edition of the OE-A brochure "Organic and Printed Electronics" boasts an interactive cover page which gives you a feeling for the next generation of electronics: enabling new applications that are thin, lightweight, flexible and produced at low cost. The functional cover page is an impressive example of this emerging technology and came about as part of the OE-A demonstrator project.

More than 4,000 samples were produced by two teams from the Munich University of Applied Sciences and Chemnitz University of Technology. OE-A members

• DuPont Microcircuit Materials,
• DuPont Teijin Films,
• Enfucell,
• Fraunhofer ENAS,
• Fraunhofer ISIT,
• Schoeller Technocell and

were additional partners on this project. The demonstrator illustrates the versatility that organic and printed electronics can offer in terms of scalability, miniaturization, adaptability manufacturability, integration, complexity and high technical yield.

Experience the bright future of organic and printed electronics!

Technology and Process

A major benefit of organic and printed electronics is the ability to automatically integrate different electronic devices into a complex system by making use of high-throughput production processes.

The project was coordinated by the Munich University of Applied Sciences which also led one of the project teams and designed the layout of the demonstrator. The interactive cover page combines screen-printed electronic circuitry, a printed zinc/manganese dioxide battery, a printed push button and four green light-emitting diodes. As a first step, the project team at the Munich University of Applied Sciences charges THIEME with screen printing the conductive circuitry using a silver ink from DuPont Microcircuit Materials. The substrate consists of thin modified photo paper by Schoeller Technocell. After curing the ink by air drying or using a low-heat drying technique, an entirely automated process is in place at Fraunhofer ISIT to position, then affix the low-current LEDs to the printed silver contacts using a conductive adhesive.

Discover the possibilities enabled by mass- produced, printed electronics!

The total thickness of the components is only 0.7 millimeters, so the electronics are barely noticeable. Finally, the printed zinc/manganese dioxide battery from Enfucell and the printed push button are mounted by the Munich University of Applied Sciences.

The project team at Chemnitz University of Technology prints conductive lines and the current collector of the battery on plastic substrate provided by DuPont Teijin Films with commercial carbon ink. Using zinc as an anode and manganese dioxide as a cathode, the materials are printed on dedicated areas on top of the current collector. Next, the LEDs are attached to the conductive circuitry using the automated process mentioned above. In the meantime, the complementary part of the demonstrator, including the remaining electrodes and a printed push-button that is part of the embedded circuitry, are printed on the same Schoeller Technocell substrate as in the other project team. The two parts of the demonstrator are then combined with an electrolyte and a separator between the anode and cathode materials. Three battery cells are connected in series. This way, a fully integrated solution is manufactured without having to separately interconnect components. The capacity of the printed batteries from Enfucell and the Chemnitz University of Technology is sufficient to operate the four LEDs on the cover page for one second more than 2,000 times.

We hope that you will find this demonstrator useful – and that you will come to appreciate how far organic and printed electronics has come as a technology enabling new applications.

The picture on the cover page shows an aircraft marshaller with electronics integrated into his safety jacket. One application for organic and printed electronics is smart textiles. The ability to integrate smart textiles has already been demonstrated by several OE-A member companies and institutes. Integrating electronics such as lighting, sensors, batteries or photovoltaics into fabrics enables a wealth of new options in fashion, sports, medical, healthcare or automotive applications.

Source of the image: OE-A

Verstraelen, Sophie Isabel
Verstraelen, Sophie Isabel