HTA has the ambition to revolutionize the organic electronic circuits production

Switzerland, 4 May 2012 - The Heterogeneous Technology Alliance (HTA), a team of leading European technology institutes (VTT, Fraunhofer, CSEM and CEA-Leti) today announced that it strongly contributes to develop high-performance organic electronic circuits. It is possible due to their extensive efforts in processing, circuit design, modeling, and characterization.

So far the appearance of organic thin film transistors (OTFTs) and circuits in industrial products has been limited. The main obstacle for substantial market penetration of such organic electronic components has been the inability to achieve the necessary device performance combined with the necessary high-volume production methods. In response to this, two European Union funded research projects, COSMIC and POLARIC, aim to revolutionize the way printed electronic circuits are made.

One of the key elements making such progress possible is the recent progress in air-stable, printable, n-type semiconductor materials, which have not been previously available. Thus, it is now possible to combine p- and n-type thin film transistors into complementary logic, which offers many advantages in terms of performance of the printed electronic circuits. The related technology in the silicon based electronics, Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor or simply CMOS technology has proven to be very competent in terms of noise and power consumption.

The main target in the COSMIC project is the development of p- and n-type OTFTs and their integration to complementary logic. This adds processing tolerance to organic integrated circuits, improves the noise margins, allows higher complexity, increases yield, and allows lower supply voltage demand. In COSMIC an analogue to digital converter coupled to a temperature sensor will be demonstrated, showing for the first time the potential of OTFTs in the sensors and actuator market. A silent authentication tag comprising a first organic RF receiver will also be build, to show organic electronics' potential in the field of item-level, secure tracking of goods using realistic protocols.

The POLARIC project has extensive activities in organic complementary technology development as well. However, the main focus in the project is in increasing the electronic performance by minimizing the critical dimensions of the OTFTs. It is important to do this maintaining compatibility to high throughput fabrication methods. The enabling technique here is to apply roll-to-roll compatible nanoimprint lithography in the transistor fabrication. This high resolution method will enable smaller transistor channel length (below 1 Ám) and thereby an increase in the performance of the device. The demonstration applications in POLARIC are active matrix liquid display and radio-frequency identification tag.

High-performing and reliable organic electronic building blocks and manufacturing platforms can be used in all areas of printed electronics - such as sensors, memories, batteries, photovoltaics, lighting and any combination of these devices - to generate value for the European industry at large.