A Look at Printed Electronics: Printed Electronics Now Interview with Dr. Peter Fischer

The field of printed electronics is clearly evolving, and it is interesting to hear the perspective of people who have long been involved in the field. From time to time, Printed Electronics Now is going to interview some of the leaders in the field, and present their viewpoints.

This week, we spoke with Dr. Peter Fischer, vice president process engineering at Plastic Logic GmbH. A member of the board of the Organic Electronics Association (OE-A), 1997-2000 Dr. Fischer earned his Ph.D. in semiconductor physics in Germany and Japan. From 2000 to 2008, he held several management positions in the semiconductor industry, in front end, back end and program management, before joining Plastic Logic in 2008 as director engineering. In 2011, Dr. Fischer was named vice president process engineering.

Printed Electronics Now: What is your background in the field of PE?

Dr. Peter Fischer: Before joining Plastic Logic, a start-up, in 2008, I acquired a background in the semiconductor industry; since then, I have been active in PE and OTFT-driven displays in such areas as process engineering, process integration, material and equipment development, test engineering, OTFT yield and reliability, as well as managing Plastic Logic's close cooperation with material and equipment suppliers and universities. In 2011, I was elected to the Board of the OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association).

Printed Electronics Now: How has the printed electronics industry changed since you first joined the field?

Dr. Peter Fischer: More products are available in the market, and there are many more professionals attracted by this field. I see more companies and universities working on the subject, more conferences and trade shows are offered and more and more new materials are appearing in the marketplace.

Printed Electronics Now: What are the key advancements that have allowed for these changes to occur?

Dr. Peter Fischer: With the passing of time, more people in various different companies are focusing their work on PE and do successfully cooperate. They are using more advanced equipment and new materials, and a steep learning curve in device know-how and PE specific reliability helps a lot too .

Printed Electronics Now: What are the technical hurdles that need to be overcome to move PE forward?

Dr. Peter Fischer: More advanced materials need to be developed; manufacturers need to show a willingness to combine new PE with existing technologies; yields and reliability need to be improved to reach levels of well-established technologies; high-volume manufacturability needs to be achieved; equipment and material prices need to be lowered.

Printed Electronics Now: Where do you see the field of printed electronics heading in both the near term and, say, 10 years from now?

Dr. Peter Fischer: In the near term, there will be a growing market for applications using PE, as more and more product designers and manufacturers are taking PE into account for their production. Over the next 10 years or so, PE will become an established technology; it will no longer be considered fancy to “print.”

Printed Electronics Now: How is Plastic Logic helping to advance the field?

Dr. Peter Fischer: In 2011, Plastic Logic launched the first OTFT-driven plastic e-reader. Among other activities, Plastic Logic specializes in process development for high-volume large-area OFTF manufacturing. We also conduct studies on transistor device reliability and make use of OTFT technology for different application fields.
Plastic Logic works in close co-operation with material and equipment suppliers to enhance the performance of products which are later used by everyone. We also engage in co-operation with universities and institutes in the field of PE. In addition, Plastic Logic has been contributing to the advancement of the field of PE since 2010 through its membership in the OE-A and by actively participating in their working groups. In my role as OE-A Board member, I hope to actively promote the field of organic and printed electronics, especially by facilitating networking and cooperation among OE-A members.