German research institute drives flexible electronics innovations

By Serena Brischetto

SEMI spoke with Prof. Christoph Kutter, executive director, Fraunhofer EMFT, about trends and innovations in flexible hybrid electronics ahead of his presentation at the 2018 FLEX Europe - Be Flexible conference at SEMICON Europa 2018, 13-16, November 2018, in Munich, Germany. To register for the event, click here.

SEMI: Recent developments on thin semiconductors, new materials and cost-effective processing techniques have opened the door to a plurality of new applications and future products. What are the most innovative integration approaches?

Kutter: We have a variety of good examples, from medical to automotive. In his keynote, Philips Research Professor Ronald Dekker will present innovative approaches to integration as electronic devices find their way into the human body. Christian Neumann, head of Digital Printed Electronics at Heraeus, will discuss new markets like smart textiles and in-mold electronics, and Mike Hack, VP of Business Development at Universal Display Corporation, will explore the promise of OLED technology in giving rise to new, exciting products over the next few years.

SEMI: Can you share some details about the Fraunhofer EMFT roadmap?

Kutter: In his speech, Christof Landesberger, department manager at Fraunhofer EMFT will delve into the R2R Manufacture of Flexible Hybrid Electronics technology roadmap.  Flex Electronics allows for the hybrid integration of different functionalities and components for a broad variety of applications, which are needed in IoT scenarios. Christof will show a few examples of that.

SEMI: Are you currently working and experimenting on something particularly exciting?

Kutter: Thin chip foil packages with embedded microcontroller ICs were demonstrated successfully by Fraunhofer EMFT using single sheet film substrates. In order to achieve the next major step towards R2R manufacture, we are currently setting up a laser direct imaging (LDI) system for R2R lithographic patterning of interconnects and wiring schemes. A key advantage of such laser imaging system is its capability to correct the UV exposure process locally and, if necessary, individually at any chip position. Such adaptive lithographic patterning is supposed to bridge the gap between alignment requirements and geometric distortions in the web substrate. First results will be shown at the conference for the first time.

SEMI: What are your expectations for the future and why would you recommend attending the 2018 Flexible – Be Flexible conference at SEMICON Europa?

Kutter:  We expect Flex Hybrid Integration to become more and more important, since it offers the best of each world: mass volume printing technologies integrated with high performance ultra-low power electronics. You will see many examples of hybrid integration approaches during the conference.

SEMICON Europa is a very important platform to highlight the latest developments in the semiconductor industry. During the 2018 Flexible – Be Flexible conference, themed “Innovations enabled by Flexible Electronics,” researchers, market analysts, material and product developers, and equipment suppliers will gather to provide insights into the latest Flexible Hybrid Electronics innovations. We are particularly proud to organize this platform with SEMI and FlexTech Alliance.

Prof. Dr. Christoph Kutter is the director of the Fraunhofer EMFT, focusing on sensing technologies based on silicon electronics and flexible hybrid integration technologies.

Kutter serves as a member of the board of trustees at Fraunhofer Institut Für Nachrichten - Heinrich-Hertz Institut HHI and has been a ember of Supervisory Board at First Sensor AG since May 24, 2017 He completed his physics studies at TU Munich. In 1995, he earned his doctorate in physics at the University of Konstanz.


Serena Brischetto is a marketing and communications manager at SEMI Europe.



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