Printed film making the device really flexible, shown on LOPEC

The Technical Research Center of Finland VTT was the first to produce all production stages of a molded film with built-in LEDs. The purpose of this project was to show the readiness of this technology to use in the creation of real products – for example, flexible LED displays with printed electronics – with an acceptable level of costs for the industry.

All users closely follow the world’s leading electronics exhibitions. Among them, in the first half of the year, CES is particularly noticeable, an exhibition of consumer electronics, and MWC is the Mobile Congress, where the public is shown the brightest news related to mobile devices and mobile technologies. Other exhibitions are less noticeable for consumers, but they are no less important for the high-tech industry, because it is there that technology is debuting, which in the future can form the basis for those devices that lead users into raptures.

March 29-30 in Munich hosted the LOPEC conference – International Exhibition of Printed Electronics. This is where the amazing technology was shown, which in time can make digital devices truly flexible, since the chips themselves become elastic.

All smart digital products, including wrist computers, which are essentially smart watches, today are equipped with a stiff component – electronics under the dial. The technology that makes electronics collapsible suggests that electronic components will be printed on a plastic or elastomeric film. Such an approach gives many advantages, including lightness, elasticity, transparency and, of course, the minimum thickness of electronic components.

The system involves placing electronics components on a printed film. In this technology, a casting process using a thermoplastic or thermoplastic elastomer is used. On the example of making a wrist bracelet, scientists have shown all the key stages of the production process of printed hybrid systems – printing conductors, assembling semiconductor light-emitting diodes and casting.

The new technology can eventually find its use in the mass production of small, easy-to-use flexible electronic devices at an acceptable production cost. The production process involves filling the film with LEDs. It is similar to the process used in decorating plastic for various consumer products. But in this case, instead of decor elements, various electrical and optical elements are used. In the first test sample, 186 light-emitting diodes were placed in the film, and 100% worked.

Currently, the Technical Research Center of Finland VTT is looking for companies interested in trying this new technology and considering the possibility of creating on its basis new concepts of products intended for the market.

What devices can be the first products based on the technology?

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