LEDs allow the design of unprecedented, innovative lighting solutions. Imec and CMST’s new thermoplastically deformable electronic circuits now add a new dimension to the possibilities to fabricate novel lamp designs as well as smart applications in ambient intelligence and wearables.
The innovative technology is based on meander-shaped interconnects, a technique to realize dynamically stretchable elastic electronic circuits including LEDs. These are then embedded in thermoplastic polymers (e.g. polycarbonate). Following production on a flat substrate, using standard printed circuit board production equipment, the circuit is given its final form using thermoforming techniques such as vacuum forming, high pressure forming or even injection molding.
Upon cooling, the thermoplastic retains its shape without inducing large internal stresses in the circuits. The method, based on standard available production processes, does not require large investments.
The production process was developed in collaboration between the industrial and academic partners involved in the FP7 project TERASEL.