UC Berkeley, PARC, Thinfilm Electronics pursue printed sensors with FlexTech Alliance grant

August 22, 2012 — An integrated printed sensor system is under development with a new grant from FlexTech Alliance, which supports displays and flexible, printed electronics. The project leverages commercial development work currently underway between PARC and Thinfilm Electronics on designing a printed sensor platform and will integrate temperature sensing as well as assess an oxygen sensor being developed at the University of California at Berkeley.

Earlier this year, Thinfilm Electronics and PARC won the FlexTech Alliance Innovation Award for the world’s first working prototype of a printed, non-volatile memory device addressed with complementary organic circuits, the equivalent of CMOS circuitry.

Also read: Progress in Printed Electronics: An Interview with PARC’s Janos Veres

Target applications include medical and product monitoring devices, such as radiation tags, disposable medical sensors, temperature tracking of pharmaceuticals at the item level, and monitoring of food sources for spoilage and contamination.

This project establishes a foundation of building blocks used to design sensor systems, helping accelerate commercial implementation of existing and future components of printed electronic products.

Specific goals of the project include:

-Demonstrate the world’s first integrated printed sensor circuitry – the basis for a smart tag including printed temperature sensor and printed nonvolatile rewritable memory, controlled by organic logic.

-Provide reference designs for sensor control and integration with other devices and demonstrate that the building blocks of these designs can be manufactured by gravure printing.

The worldwide market for biosensors is expected to grow from $8.5 billion in 2012 to $16.8 billion by 2018, according to MarketResearch.com. Printed sensor systems could take significant market share away from conventional electronics, with production costs a fraction of conventional fab methods and thin, flexible form factors.

The FlexTech Alliance is devoted to fostering the growth, profitability and success of the electronic display and the flexible, printed electronics supply chain. FlexTech offers expanded collaboration between and among industry, academia, government, and research organizations for advancing displays and flexible, printed electronics from R&D to commercialization. More information about the FlexTech Alliance can be found at www.flextech.org.

PARC, a Xerox company, provides custom R&D services, technology, expertise, best practices, and intellectual property to Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, startups, and government agencies and partners.

Thin Film Electronics ASA (Ticker: THIN.OL) is a leader in the development of printed electronics. Internet: www.thinfilm.no.

The University of California was chartered in 1868 and its flagship campus — envisioned as a "City of Learning" — was established at Berkeley, on San Francisco Bay. UC Berkeley is a premier public university.

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