The awards were presented by Richard Collins, senior technology analyst and James Haywood, principal analyst at IDTechEx.
A summary of the awards and winners are as follows:
- Technical Development Manufacturing - American Semiconductor;
- Technical Development Materials - Flectrode Technology Ltd/ Mind Technology Development Ltd;
- Best Product - PragmatIC
In 2019, American Semiconductor, Inc. installed the world's first advanced packaging facility for Semiconductor-on-Polymer (SoP) Chip Scale Package (CSP) manufacturing in Boise, ID.
SoP CSP is used to produce thin and flexible high-performance silicon integrated circuit (ICs) which when combined with printed electronics enables high-performance hybrid printed electronics.
The new production capacity provides ultra-thin packaged ICs that enable electronics to be applied in applications never before possible for IoT, Consumer wearables, Automotive, Appliances, Healthcare and Logistics. ASI's new facility also expanded capabilities for automated production assembly of chip on flex and advanced Flexible Hybrid Electronics systems.
Initial capability includes 50/50um pitch interconnects that are individually smaller than the cross-section of a human hair.
"Our Semiconductor-on-Polymer wafer level chip scale packaging is producing the leading edge of reliable ultra-thin and flexible high-performance ICs," said Doug Hackler, president and CEO of American Semiconductor "We are already working with some of the industry's leading product innovators and we are looking forward to new engagements with everyone who needs a reliable ultra-thin chip solution."
Technical Development Materials - Flectrode Technology Ltd/Mind Technology Development Ltd
Flectrode & MindTech successfully developed novel Transparent Conductive Films (TCFs) with embedded metallic structure, achieving high optical transparency (up to 90%) and low sheet resistance (down to 0.1 ohm/sq.). This technology can enable high performing TCFs used in many emerging electronic fields, such as automotive navigation head-up display (HUD), Micro-LED, OLED, flexible display, EMI Shielding, 5G antenna and transparent window heater applications.
To be specific, Flectrode & MindTech's novel TCF technology can achieve ultra-fine linewidths as narrow as 2 μm, which surpasses the linewidth level of most existing metal mesh production processes. In general, the narrow linewidth makes it possible to get higher transparency.
Another unique feature of Flectrode & MindTech's technology is the ability to control the aspect ratio of the embedded metal grid. That is of vital importance because it means increased conductivity can be achieved by fabricating a deeper (not wider) track, which is a brand-new way to improve the electrical conductivity without sacrificing optical transparency. More importantly, the embedded metal network ensures a smooth surface finishing and the proprietary micro-anchoring design enhances overall reliability in terms of material compatibility and mechanical properties. Flectrode & MindTech's novel TCF can pass tough reliability tests like damp-heat (85 degC/ 85RH%) test for 1,000 hours, as well as thermal shock test for 40 hours.
These test results are significant for potential applications in sensors or window heating use in automotive.
"It is a great recognition for our work to develop high-performance TCF for emerging electronics fields," said Dr. Own Choi, director of Technology & Product Development, Flectrode Technology Ltd.
Best Product - PragmatIC
The established RFID market was reported to be over 10 billion units in 2018 and it is expected to grow to nearly 100 billion per annum in the next decade. PragmatIC won the award for best product, which is an ultra-low-cost technology that has the potential to increase the addressable market by an order of magnitude or more. Indeed, within only 2 months of the ConnectIC product launch PragmatIC received orders for more than 20 million units from customers in Europe, North America and Asia.
The company has continued to receive even larger orders from a range of multinational organizations across diverse markets, looking to add traceability and interactivity to its mass-market products.
One key application area for ConnectICs is healthcare. PragmatIC is working closely with Quality Hospital Solutions and the NHS3 on a project to track pathology samples in the North East of the UK. If rolled out nationally, this approach has the potential to save the NHS around £400 million per year. Other healthcare applications include the tracking of pharmaceuticals to ensure appropriate control over their use. PragmatIC has also worked with the UK Government on the application of ConnectICs to smart waste management, enabling unique tracking of items right up to the point of disposal or recycling. In a related project, the Tyre Recovery Association and one of its members demonstrated how ConnectICs can simplify the recovery of 40 million used tires in the UK with "a quantum leap forward for traceability."
The four judges of the awards were:
- Jonas Vandercruys, global packaging development engineer, AB-InBev, Belgium;
- Thomas Morel, R&D custom solutions director, JCDecaux, France;
- Dr. Diego Bagnis, chief scientific officer, CSEM, Brazil;
- Dr. Sameh Dardona, associate director, research & innovation, United Technologies Research Center, USA