Materials for flexible electronics – testing and qualification

Rouzet Agaiby, Senior Business Development Engineer

May 02, 2018

The rise of the flexible electronics industry and the exciting applications it enables, continues to push the development of new materials that are inherently flexible while still matching or exceeding the performance of their non-flexible counterparts.

Materials companies

FlexEnable looks to roll to roll electronicsMaterials companies in the supply chain for rigid displays or sensors are investing in developing new materials in order to become part of the new supply chain for flexible electronics. One of the challenges in developing new materials, is that materials may need to be processed and characterised differently – for example to take into account both electrical and mechanical performance attributes – a new performance envelope in both manufacturing and product use, must now be considered. Materials companies can benefit from companies like FlexEnable who have deep experience processing flexible electronics materials for displays and sensors and understand the requirements of scaling up these processes to large areas and higher volumes

There are other materials companies who are not part of the supply chain for rigid displays or sensors but are finding that some of their materials may be suitable for use in flexible electronics. For example these could be companies who make plastics and want to develop a new class of plastic substrates. They may need help understanding the supply chain as well as the attributes of their materials that make them relevant for use in the manufacture of flexible electronics for flexible displays and sensors.

Through our MaterialsEnable service we help materials companies to develop their materials product portfolio by understanding the core application requirements and benchmarking their portfolio against materials used in mainstream flexible electronics.

Materials types

Some examples of the material types used in flexible electronics for flexible displays and flexible sensors are:

  • highly functional materials that form part of the device structure like organic semiconductors, dielectrics, photo-sensitive or pressure sensitive materials
  • flexible, robust films used in organic electronics manufacturing, including adhesives, substrates and polarizers

Each class of materials needs to undergo a comprehensive set of tests that gauge how ready it is for mass manufacture of flexible electronics. For example, substrates need to be tested for flexibility, adhesion of different layers, chemical compatibility and distortion, while organic semiconductors need tests like compatibility to the metal layers and the dielectric stack, electrical performance and stability, uniformity and ease of manufacture.

Working with FlexEnable

FlexEnable has hundreds of engineering-years of accumulated experience in the design and manufacture of flexible electronics making us the most suitable partner for qualifying relevant materials.

Right now, product companies are looking to adopt organic electronics in order to realise new design concepts and use cases, through our manufacturing partners starting with Truly Semiconductors Ltd, bringing materials qualified in our labs through to mass production.

Material companies interested in gaining access to the supply chain for flexible electronics and qualifying their materials for flexible displays and sensors can get in touch with FlexEnable at info@flexenable.com.

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