IP4 - Combination of polymer sensors with organic electronics: ideas and developments

SENSOR+TEST Conferences 2009
2009-05-26 - 2009-05-28
Congress Center Nürnberg
Proceedings OPTO 2009 & IRS² 2009
IRS² Poster Session
G. Domann, U. Helbig - Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC, Würzburg, Germany, M. Zirkl, B. Stadlober - Joanneum Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Weiz, Austria
289 - 294


Step by step, everyday items are more and more featured with sensor functions in order to increase the item’s capability for self-controlling, self-monitoring or communication with other devices and people. Some of the most interesting physical properties which are to be measured by sensors are pressure and temperature (infrared radiation). In order to equip commodity items with sensor functions it is often necessary to apply efficient processing techniques in order to reduce the costs. Low production costs can be realized by large-area processing techniques, such as reel-to-reel technologies using printing and imprinting tools, and, in-line vacuum processing schemes, as well.
Since several years, research activities are carried out in order to realize printable electronics. The combination of printable sensors and printable electronics enables one to increase the degree of device integration within the same process line. Besides, experience gained in the field of research of printable electronics can be exploited in order to achieve printable pressure and temperature sensors. In a first approach, simple organic thin-film transistors are applied in order to match the impedance of the sensor devices and to amplify the sensor signal.
By the combination of printable electronics and printable sensors two further interesting features become available:
(1) The active sensor area can be increased in arbitrary sizes and shapes since it is dependent on the web width of the processed foil only and can be cut or formed in adjusted shapes defined by the final application.
(2) By usage of printable electronics it becomes possible to feature the sensor with position sensitivity Therefore, the complexity of information gathered by the sensor can be increased – and enables one to realize more sophisticated functions without increasing the processing costs.
However, transforming the idea into reality many requirements have to be met by the used materials, the device physics, and the process technologies. These aspects are discussed in detail in this contribution and main research topics are identified.