IDTechEX Honors Fully Printed 5 GHz Transistor as The Year's Most Significant R+D Achievement in Printed Electronics Industry

Optomec announced today that the company, along with their partners, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and Brewer Science, has won the IDTechEx Academic R+D Award for Printed Electronics.

The award, which will be given for the first time this year, recognizes the most significant new research development in the printed electronics sector over the past year. The research, which was lead by Dr. Xuejun Lu at the University of Massachusetts, demonstrated the ability to fully print thin-film transistors (TFTs) with operating frequencies exceeding 5 GHz built from single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) ink from Brewer Science, and printed using Optomec's Aerosol Jet system. The results of this project were recently published in APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS (93, 243301 2008) with a paper titled "All [aerosol] jet-printed carbon nanotube thin-film transistor on a polyimide substrate with an ultrahigh operating frequency of over 5 GHz."

The Printed Electronics Awards are hosted by IDTechEx, a leader in providing independent global research and analysis on the development and application of printed and potentially printed electronics. Mr. Raghu Das, IDTechEx CEO, states that, "The Printed Electronics Awards judges are all very excited at the work that has been done between Optomec, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and Brewer Science. The development of a 5 GHz all-printed flexible electronic circuit is a notable breakthrough and one that will help push forward the Printed Electronics industry." The Awards recognize innovation, success and development. Winners were announced on Tuesday, April 7, at the Printed Electronics Europe conference in Dresden, Germany.

"Although our technical achievement is significant enough to garner an academic award, the work was done with materials and equipment that are at production scale," says Brewer Science lead scientist Dr. Wu-Sheng Shih. "In addition to the cost reduction from avoiding lithography, the fact that the deposition is near room temperature opens the door to many inexpensive and flexible substrates. The barriers to using carbon nanotubes in flexible electronics are falling and we are happy to be part of that process." Brewer Science is a leader in the manufacture of high purity, surfactant free carbon nanotube solutions to support electronic applications. The Brewer Science CNTRENE™ line of carbon nanotube solutions are used in the development and manufacture of next-generation microelectronic devices. These materials can also support the manufacture of TFTs, sensors, solar cells, and transparent conducting applications.

Dr. Craig Armiento, Professor and Department Chair-Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, states that, "U Mass Lowell has a history of developing advanced technologies that can be applied to a manufacturing environment. We are pleased to have partnered with Optomec and Brewer Science to develop an approach to flexible electronics that can achieve both low cost and high performance." The University of Massachusetts-Lowell has active research programs in a diverse number of specialization areas including embedded systems, metamaterials, optoelectronic devices, power distribution, alternative energy sources and nanotechnology. The Electrical and Computer Engineering facilities include numerous laboratories and seven research centers that span diverse areas of electrical and computer engineering.

Optomec's Aerosol Jet system is a fine feature, non-contact printed electronics solution used for the development and fabrication of next generation microelectronic devices. The functional electronics produced by the Aerosol Jet systems can have line widths and pattern features to 10 microns and below, and as large as 100 microns or more - successfully bridging the gap between existing screen-printing and thin-film lithography capabilities. Dave Ramahi, President and CEO of Optomec, adds, "We are honored to be recognized for the second time by IDTechEx for our role in this breakthrough achievement. This award exemplifies the merit of collaboration between material, printing and device developers in order to realize the vision of fully printed electronics."

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