The combination of state-of-the-art semiconductor devices and upcoming manufacturing technologies for cost-effective processing of flexible film substrates has paved the way for a large variety of new applications in the emerging Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE).
SEMI spoke with Professor Christoph Kutter, executive director, Fraunhofer EMFT, about current FHE technologies and market opportunities ahead of the Get Started with Flexible Hybrid Electronics workshop organized by Fraunhofer EMFT and supported by SEMI, 15 October, 2019, in Munich, Germany. To register for the event, click here.
SEMI: Recent developments in thin semiconductors, new materials and cost-effective processing techniques have opened the door to a plurality of new applications and future products. What are the most innovative integration approaches?
Kutter: Most interesting is the hybrid integration approach – the combination of most modern printing technologies and lithographically defined semi-additive copper wiring systems with state-of-the-art semiconductor components. Combining these best-of-breed technologies enables low-cost and high-volume printing but also ultra-low power electronics, which is important for every wireless device without or with limited power supply.
SEMI: Integrating sensors, integrated circuits (IC), displays, antennas and communication devices on film substrates enables extremely thin and bendable form factors for applications where existing board-level technologies fall short. What are the key enabler technologies?
Kutter: Key enabling technologies are fabrication of high-performance wiring patterns, integration of ultra-thin bare dies/components and ongoing advancements in roll-to-roll processing of film substrates. Besides the manufacturing technologies, materials such as electronic inks, substrates, isolation and passivation layers play a key role.
SEMI: Are you currently working and experimenting on something particularly exciting?
Kutter: We are in the process of developing an adaptive roll-to-roll direct imaging system that analyzes the position of the components manufactured before adaptive lithography steps are carried out in real time. We think that this concept will open up completely new processing possibilities for us. The technical infrastructure making this development possible is funded within the framework of the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD), the largest cross-site R&D cooperation for microelectronics and nanoelectronics in Europe.
SEMI: Can you share some details about the Fraunhofer EMFT roadmap?
Kutter: Fraunhofer will push the hybrid integration – for example, combining printing technologies with high-performance CMOS – since we are convinced that hybrid integration is the only way to offer low-power systems for IoT with the highest performance and at the lowest cost. For this purpose, we are currently setting up a roll-to-roll die bond and component assembly machine.
SEMI: What are your expectations for the future of flexible electronics and why would you recommend attending the workshop in Munich?
Kutter: Flexible hybrid integration is becoming more important and offers the best of both worlds: mass volume printing technologies integrated with high performance ultra-low power electronics. You will see many examples of hybrid integration approaches during the workshop. This is a very important opportunity to highlight the latest developments in the semiconductor industry. Researchers, market analysts, material and product developers, and equipment suppliers will gather to provide insights into the latest flexible hybrid electronics innovations. We are particularly proud to organize this platform with SEMI and FlexTech Alliance.
Agenda - Get Started with Flexible Hybrid Electronics
Location: Fraunhofer EMFT, Hansastrasse 27d, 80686 Munich, Germany
Conference Chair: Prof. Dr. Christoph Kutter
ENTRANCE Fees: 150 € VAT excl.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Kutter is the director of the Fraunhofer EMFT, focusing on sensing technologies based on silicon electronics and flexible hybrid integration technologies.
Kutter completed his physics studies at TU Munich. In 1995, he earned his doctorate in physics at the University of Konstanz.
Serena Brischetto is a marketing and communications manager at SEMI Europe.