2018FLEX Short Courses

 Co-located with:

Short Courses 

Check back frequently as more information will be added as the event approaches closer. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

1. From Lab to Fab: Materials, Printing and Processing of Flexible Hybrid Electronics
Mark Poliks, Binghamton University, James J. Watkins, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Michael Mastropietro, NextFlex

This course will review the three main approaches to FHE as well as the underlying technologies required to deliver products and processes now and in the future. These three approaches include chip-on-flex, micron scale thin-film devices on flex, and sub-micron scale self-assembled/imprinted device based coatings on flex. The discussions will include fundamentals of printing, coating and patterning technologies as well as challenges associated with pick and place, attachment of thinned silicon die on flex and emerging technologies that will enable direct printing of highly integrated components and devices.  Instructors from NextFlex, Binghamton University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will provide a comprehensive overview of approaches, successes and trending developments in manufacturing methods for FHE. An opportunity to sign-up for a visit to NextFlex Institute will be offered to the course attendees.

Topic Description


  • Historical Perspective and Needs

Printed Electronics from Lab to Fab

  • Selecting the right print method for an additively manufactured circuits
  • Basic performance metrics of printed conductors and functional materials
  • Introduction to various printing methods for functional inks: direct write methods: ink-jet, aerosol-jet, extrusion, micro-dispensing, and more
  • Printing methods requiring a master: screen printing, flexo, gravure, gravure offset
  • Coating methods: slot-die, Meyer rod
  • Challenges of drying and curing functional inks
Flexible Hybrid Electronics and Packaging Overview
Case Study I: Variability and Controls in Aerosol Jet Printing
Case Study II: A Flexible Hybrid Human Performance Monitor

Roll-to-Roll Processing

  • Materials and Processes
  • Substrates: plastic, metal foils, thin flexible glass
  • Coatings: metal, TCO, dielectrics, thin film semiconductors
  • Vacuum processes: PVD/sputter, plasma etch, laser ablation
  • Photolithographic patterning

Case Study III: Active & Pssive Integration on Thin Flexible Glass

  • Interposer, TFTs and Antennas
Case Study IV: Sensors on Paper

Emerging Methods and Technologies

  • Imprint Lithography
  • Spatial ALD
  • Directed self assembly
  • Nanoparticle dispersions
  • Solution-based coatings: additive driven assembly
  • Transfer printing
  • Nano-imprint patterning
Case Study V: Microfluidic Based Patch Sensors

Case Study VI: Continuous Nanofabrication Processes

  • Applications and requirements
  • Large area infrared sensors
  • Large area energy and light management with meta structures
  • Antimicrobial/super hydrophobic surfaces for biomedical devices

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

2. Challenges and Solutions for Integration of Sensors with Flexible, Hybrid, Printed Systems
Chip Spangler, Aspen Microsystems, Mary Ann Maher, SoftMEMS

This course is intended for individuals and organizations interested in exploring the latest innovations in the system design of flexible, hybrid and printed solutions incorporating sensors. The course will provide an overview of the state of the industry and design and manufacturing ecosystems and focus on key system integration challenges for incorporating sensors into flexible, hybrid and printed designs. The course will describe both design and manufacturing issues illustrated by examples from the field and will cover the problems encountered at various stages of product development from concept to production. Practical advice and solutions are described for the specific problems brought by adding sensors to a flexible, hybrid, printed system and resources available to help in designing these systems will be presented.

3. Flexible Device Integration & Packaging
Pradeep Lall, Auburn University, Douglas Hackler, American Semiconductor, Kurt Christenson, Optomec

In this course, manufacture, design, assembly, and accelerated testing of flexible hybrid electronics for applications in some of the emerging areas will be covered. Flexible hybrid electronics opens the possibilities for the development of stretchable, bendable, foldable form-factors in electronics applications which have not been possible with the use of rigid electronics technologies. Flexible electronics may be subjected to strain magnitudes in the neighborhood of 50-150 percent during normal operation. The integration processes and semiconductor packaging architectures for flexible hybrid electronics may differ immensely in comparison with those used for rigid electronics. The manufacture of thin electronic architectures requires the integration of thin-chips, flexible encapsulation, compliant interconnects, and stretchable inks for metallization traces. A number of additive manufacturing processes for the fabrication and assembly of flexible hybrid electronics have become tractable. Processes for handling, pick-and-place operations of thin silicon and compliant interposers through interconnection processes such as reflow requires an understanding of the deformation and warpage processes for development of robust process parameters which will allow for acceptable levels of yields in high-volume manufacture. Modeling of operational stresses in flexible electronics requires the material behavior under loads including constant exposure to human body temperature, saliva, sweat, ambient temperature, humidity, dust, wear and abrasion. The strains imposed on flexible stretchable electronics may far exceed those experienced in rigid electronics requiring the consideration of finite-strain formulation in development of predictive models. The failure mechanisms, failure modes, acceleration factors in flexible electronics under operational loads of stretch, bend, fold and loads resulting from human body proximity are significantly different than rigid electronics. The testing, qualification and quality assurance protocols to meaningfully inform manufacturing processes and ensure reliability and survivability under exposure to sustained harsh environmental operating conditions, may differ in flexible electronics as well. A number of product areas for the application of flexible electronics are tractable in the near-term including Internet-of-Things (IoT), medical wearable electronics, textile woven electronics, robotics, communications, asset monitoring and automotive electronics.

4. Next Generation Flexible Displays
Paul Cain, FlexEnable, Mike Hack, Universal Displays, Erica MontbachKent Displays, D. Scott Bull, E Ink

In this course, the future of flexible displays for multiple different electro-optic materials will be presented, including; Organic Liquid Crystal Display (OLCD) and Organic Thin Film Transistors (OTFTs) from FlexEnable, Electrophoretic materials from Eink, Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays from Universal Display Corporation, and Polymer-Dispersed Liquid Crystals (PDLCs) as applied to eWriter technologies from Kent Displays. The anticipated products, markets and applications enabled by each type of flexible display will be discussed. In addition, the substrate requirements, key materials and processes, flexible electrodes and backplanes, and ideal manufacturing processes will be reviewed for each technology.

Organic liquid crystal displays (OLCDs) can be conformed, shaped and wrapped around almost any surface. Compatible with existing flat panel display production lines, OLCD is the lowest cost flexible display technology and is scalable to large area areas while providing high brightness and long lifetime. With OLCD beginning mass production in 2018, it will enable new product paradigms and use cases for a range of applications across consumer electronics, smart home appliances, automotive, digital signage and beyond.

Electrophoretic display (EPD) technology is the basis for flexible ePaper displays already in mass production. EPD front planes are coated roll to roll thousands of feet long and are then cut and combined with a variety of flexible segmented and TFT backplanes.   Daylight readability, low power, true bistability, and paper-like viewing characteristics have made it the display of choice for electronic readers.  EPD technology is also already in production for flexible watches and wearables, electronic suitcase tags, and even large scale solar powered architectural highlight modules, with more exciting applications soon to be announced.  

Flexible OLEDs offer the ability to make bright emissive displays on a range of substrates. Current commercial products are now being fabricated on plastic substrates, and foldable and rollable OLED displays with radii of curvature down to 1mm will be available in the next few years, allowing for the realization of exciting new generations of consumer products.

The bistable, roll-to-roll manufactured PDLC eWriters allow for flexible, rugged, thin, lightweight liquid crystal displays that are compatible with non-rectangular shapes due to the base plastic substrates. The unique PDLC materials and processes promote excellent line acuity when localized pressure is applied to the display with a stylus (or other object) writing a bright line on a dark background. 

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

5.  Applications Panel Discussion (OPEN to All)
Moderator: Malcolm Thompson, NextFlex
Panelists: Nancy Stoffel, GE Global Research, Jeffrey Spindler, OLEDWorks LLC, Al Compaan, Lucintech, Tatsuo Ogawa, Panasonic
, Wolfgang Juchmann, AutonomouStuff, Inc

This panel discussion provides industry viewpoints on Applications for flexible, printed, or hybrid electronic devices. Panelists are selected from industry and provide initial comments on their application area’s critical technology needs required to achieve anticipated roadmaps. The goal is to provide the community with direction on meaningful problems that require multi-disciplinary technical solutions. Continued discussion and new connections amongst the ecosystem is highly encouraged. Application areas for discussion will be chosen from Display, Automotive, Packaging, Lighting, Photovoltaic, and other power considerations.

Last Updated 1/18/2018 5:01 PM PST