Nanomaterials Produce Flexible Three – Dimensional Electronics


Nanomaterials Produce Heterogeneous Three- Dimensional Electronics

Researchers at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois have developed a new, experimentally simple approach for combining broad classes of dissimilar electronic materials into heterogeneously integrated systems with two or three dimensional layouts on rigid or flexible substrates. The materials and techniques, published in the December 15 issue of Science, provide capabilities that can complement those achievable with conventional methods.

“We have developed a simple approach to combine disparate types of semiconductor devices into three dimensional, heterogeneously integrated (HGI) electronic systems,” added Rogers, who has appointments in the departments of materials science and engineering, chemistry, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical science and engineering, and is also a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

The process starts with the synthesis of semiconductor nanomaterials, in the form of micro and nanoscale ribbons, wires, tubes and bars, on specialized growth substrates. Repeated application of a printing technique that uses soft, elastomeric ‘stamps’ with these nanomaterials as solid ‘inks’ followed by device integration yields heterogeneously integrated electronics that incorporate any combination of these or other semiconductor nanomaterials on virtually any type of device substrate, ranging from rigid inorganic materials to flexible plastics. Circuits built in this way offer electrical and mechanical (e.g., bendability) attributes that would be impossible to achieve using conventional, wafer-based approaches to electronics.

A key feature of the strategy is that it occurs at room temperature, thereby enabling the electronics to be placed on unconventional substrates such as thin sheets of plastic.

“This work shows that it is possible to liberate high performance electronic devices from semiconductor wafers and to integrate them onto surfaces and substrates that better serve important end applications,”

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