Free-form electronics

Free-form electronics in the sense of physically thin, lightweight, flexible and stretchable electronic devices opens the whole new world of application possibilities which are not fully explored today and goes well beyond the limitations of the rigid, bulky and brittle conventional electronics. The tremendous advancement in the research of new materials and their unique features at the nanoscopic scale enabled a combination of mechanical flexibility, electrical conductivity, easy processability and even a number of other functional features like photosensitivity or electroluminescence. These qualities do not just differentiate but create new markets and product categories, as well as contributing to the development of innovative concepts of ubiquitous electronics naturally integrated into objects of everyday use such as smart textiles and wearable electronics, smart electronic surfaces, human-machine interfaces, electronic medical patches or Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The implementation of these innovative concepts also depends on new approaches to the manufacturing of electronics. One of the most appealing is based on fully additive manufacturing using soluble functional materials directly printed on large scale flexible foils. The so-called printed electronics possesses a number of attractive features like an energy and material-saving production at high speed resulting in the large area, yet very thin form factors of the final electronic products.

The material research team at RICE (University of West Bohemia, Pilsen) has long been addressing this topic in a number of related applied research projects and some of the practical results and demonstrators will be presented at our booth.