Universities Continue to Develop New Technologies for PE

As is the case in any new field, research is critical to developing new products. This is certainly true of printed electronics (PE) as well, and the innovative work being done worldwide on the university level may lead to successes down the road.

Already, some of the most promising start-ups in PE have sprouted from universities. E Ink (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)), Novaled (Technical University and the Fraunhofer Institute of Dresden), Konarka (University of Massachusetts – Lowell), Plastic Logic (Cambridge University), PST Sensors (University of Cape Town) and Plextronics (Carnegie Mellon University) are just a few of the companies that have evolved from the university level.

It is reasonable to believe that university researchers worldwide are working on developments that may lead to new companies in the future.

There are plenty of research centers dedicated to printed electronics. The Center for the Advancement of Printed Electronics, housed in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Western Michigan University, is doing excellent research, as is the Georgia Tech Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics (COPE). Clemson University, UCLA, MIT and many others are leading efforts in PE.

This work has been showcased during recent conferences. At IDTechEx’s recent Printed Electronics Europe 2012, held in Berlin on April 3-4, 2012, professors and students from universities worldwide showcased their researchers.

These topics ranged from OLEDs (University of Durham), organic photovoltaics (University of Ljubljana), photovoltaics (University of Nantes), carbon nanotubes and graphene (University of Cambridge), logic and memory (Sunchon National University, University of Cambridge), and stretchable electronics (University of Heidelberg, Johannes Kepler University Linz and Ghent University).

At IDTechEx’s Printed Electronics USA 2011 conference, which was held in December 2011, presentations given by universities included topics such as brand enhancement (University of California, Berkeley), sensors (University of California, San Diego, and University of Cape Town), inorganic film transistors (University of Cambridge), RFID (Sunchon National University), OLEDs (University of Toronto), graphene and carbon nanotubes (UCLA and Northern Illinois University), paper electronics (MIT), printing (City University of Hong Kong), batteries and energy storage (Stanford University and Stevens Institute of Technology) and 3D printing (Georgia Institute of Technology).

LOPE-C 2012, organized by the OE-A, will be held June 20-21, 2102 at Messe München. It features many researchers from universities, beginning with Prof. Karl Leo of Institut fuer Angewandte Photophysik, Technische Universitaet Dresden, Fraunhofer-Institute for Photonic Microsystems, who will give a keynote talk on Recent Progress in Small Molecule Organic Devices.

Speakers will talk on subjects ranging from materials and processes to devices. University research on materials and production will be well represented at LOPE-C, as speakers will cover materials (Imperial College, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, University of Oulu, Brno University of Technology, University of West Bohemia and Selcuk University), inorganic materials and nanomaterials (Selcuk University and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), roll-to-roll processes (University of California, Berkeley), substrates and barriers (Mid Sweden University), sintering (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tampere University of Technology), and quality control in production lines (Konkuk University, Jeonju University, Technical University of Chemnitz, Hanyang University and Technische Universität Darmstadt).

As for end uses, presenters will discuss topics ranging from electronics and components (Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge and Sunchon National University) lighting (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)), printed sensors (University of California, Berkeley, National Chung Cheng University and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)), OPV (SPECIFIC, Swansea University), OLEDs (Selcuk University and Friedrich-Schiller-University), RFID (Tampere University of Technology and CNRS - Aix Marseille University), thin film transistors (TU Chemnitz), devices (Université Montpellier 2, Sungkyunkwan University, EPFL, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Universidade de Aveiro, University of Oulu and Mannheim University of Applied Science), and products (University of Ljubljana and University of Applied Sciences Munich).

On the printing and patterning side, LOPE-C features a number of university presenters, including speakers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Loughborough University, TU Eindhoven, KAIST, Technical University of Darmstadt, Seoul National University, Swansea University, Konkuk University, Sungkyunkwan University, Osaka University, Chemnitz University of Technology and Pohang University of Science and Technology.

These are but a few of the universities that are conducting research in the field of printed electronics, and time will tell if which of these efforts will ultimately be commercialized. Still, there is much promise to the work being done on the university level.