SEMI FlexTech Aims to Develop Ultra-Thin Self-Recharging Power Source

March 09, 2019 by Scott McMahan

SEMI FlexTech, the industry-led, public and private partnership dedicated to growing the flexible and printed electronics ecosystem, announced new projects featuring novel interconnect and integration strategies to transform innovations into market-ready products. The projects include Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) technologies such as ultra-thin batteries, printed audio speaker systems, and advances in flexible fan-out-wafer-level packaging.

"The SEMI FlexTech R&D program is driving significant advances in the infrastructure required to support world-class manufacturing capabilities for FHE devices and products," said Dr. Melissa Grupen-Shemansky, SEMI CTO for flexible electronics and advanced packaging. "These projects are on the cutting edge of integration and demonstrate the value of collaboration in innovation to bring new products to market."

New Projects

Led by ITN Energy Systems, in partnership with Molex, ENrG, Sunray Scientific, and the University of Rhode Island, the project aims to develop ultra-thin charge control circuits for an optimized ultra-thin battery to serve as a renewable, self-recharging, lightweight, flexible power source. The battery will power sensor systems for mobile applications.

Compared to today's commercially available batteries, the power package is expected to be smaller, feature greater sensitivity and response time, support optimal temperature and humidity ranges, and enable lower power consumption.

The team first intends to demonstrate a monolithically integrated power module with integrated ultra-thin charge control circuitry and photovoltaics. The team will then explore the integration of a sensor system into the battery system, and ultimately plans to create a working power module that includes a sensor, signal processing, and telemetry within a package that is less than 250 microns thick.

Flexible Hybrid Electronics Applications (Click on image to enlarge)

The $2.4 million project with a 48% cost share by industry partners, is scheduled to last 15 months.

Led by UCLA in partnership with i3 Microsystems, the second new contract is to demonstrate a new electrode array that identifies muscle fatigue in training combatants and provides rehabilitation therapies from neural-trauma or neuropathic disorders.

The team will develop an advanced electromyography electrode array and commercial CMOS chip in a fan-out-wafer-level-package (FOWLP) based on a biocompatible platform for heterogeneous integration. The FOWLP enables a small form factor, with the biocompatibility enabled by a new molding compound. At a total of $1 million with a 50% cost share, the FOWLP is scheduled for 18-month.

Completed Projects

Xerox company, PARC, developed, fabricated, and demonstrated a highly-flexible, wireless, audio-actuated system. The PARC team collaborated with other consortium members to use a set of novel materials including thinned die, die-attach compounds, audio material, resistor material, and substrates.

The team evaluated the performance and flexibility of the die attach, measured robustness and performance of the components and printed circuitry, and then developed an integration and test process. With total funding of $572,000 at 50 percent industry cost share, the project lasted one year.

ITN Energy Systems, as the lead in partnership with Lucintech, ENrG, and Molex, created an ultra-thin (less than 250 microns thick), solid-state, lithium, secondary battery for printed devices with integrated photovoltaic cells for self-recharging. The resulting power component is ideal for Internet of Things (IoT), wireless, wearable and sensor capabilities for flexible and printed devices. Compared to other commercially available products, the prototype provides the highest lifecycle energy in the smallest volume without sacrificing operational capabilities. The project spanned 15 months at a total of $983,000 with a 52 percent industry cost share.

SEMI FlexTech selects and funds projects under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Army Research Laboratories (ARL). The program regularly issues requests for proposals and invites any organization to submit proposals in a two-stage process. For more information and to subscribe to regular program updates, visit the SEMI-FlexTech website.

About SEMI

SEMI® connects more than 2,100 member companies and 1.3 million professionals worldwide to advance the technology and business of electronics manufacturing. Its members are responsible for the innovations in materials, design, equipment, software, devices, and services that enable smarter, faster, more powerful, and more affordable electronic products.

Electronic System Design Alliance (ESD Alliance), FlexTech, the Fab Owners Alliance (FOA) and the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG) are SEMI Strategic Association Partners, defined communities within SEMI focused on specific technologies.