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Smart high-integration flex technologies


The objective of the project is the development of smart, high-integration, mechanically flexible electronic systems, for a wide variety of applications. "Smart" means that the flexible multi-layer laminate has embedded components, and that the different flex layers in the multi-layer structure can have different functions, meaning that it might be necessary to combine layers of different base material in the laminate. Compactness of the resulting circuit will be boosted in two ways: by using the third dimension for electronic component integration (not only on front and back side, but potentially on every conductive layer) and by drastically increasing the wiring density through the introduction of new flex manufacturing and lamination techniques.

Innovative technologies to be developed in SHIFT include: a new, cheap flex laminate technology, based on a process for electroless Cu deposition on polyimide. A new lamination technology, based on interconnection by solid-state diffusion. Component embedding technologies: resistors, capacitors, RF components and ultra thin (20 micron) chips. Assembly technologies on embedded multi-layer flex.

The rationale of the project is that in order to realise the "ambient intelligence" vision, more and more electronics systems will accompany the citizen. For these systems there is a trend towards increased functionality, compactness, wearibility and reduced weight. The system may not hamper the mobility of the human carrier. Flexible electronics systems take the shape of the object onto or into which they are placed and may become quasi non-noticeable to the user.

Compared to their rigid board counterparts they show a drastic increase of comfort for the user, and therefore the trend is starting and will become only stronger towards the use of "smart" comfortable mechanically flexible electronic systems. The aim of SHIFT is precisely to develop enabling technologies for such complex flexible electronic systems.

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Participants (10)