Printable electronics are electronics systems, sub-systems, and components, which are produced by low cost coating, patterning, and printing processes usually using solution processable inorganic and/or organic materials. Printable electronics are usually fabricated at ambient temperature in contrast to conventional semiconductor electronics technologies which are usually based on higher temperature evaporative inorganic metals/oxide substrates or thin film technologies eg Si, III/V and metal oxides. Capital and operating production costs are therefore greatly reduced, enabled by the evolution of simpler processes which in turn enable new product concepts.
The major advantages of printable electronics generally include the ability to fabricate lightweight, flexible and low cost products. The total market for printed, flexible and organic electronics is projected to grow from $26.54 billion in 2016 to $69.03 billion in 2026. The ink segment of the market contributes less than $3 billion.
Cortec’s Si6H12 -derived printable electronic “ink” has also been successfully used in solution processed Si thin films for the prototype “bottom-gate” thin-film transistor (TFT). The TFT is a very specific type field effect transistor which is made by depositing thin films of active semiconductor layers, as well as the dielectric layer and metallic contacts, over a non-conducting supporting substrate. This design differs from the conventional transistor where the actual semiconductor material is typically the substrate, such as in a silicon wafer. The current primary application for TFTs is in liquid crystal displays where the substrate is glass.
Coretec’s Si6H12 -derived materials also can be used with a laser-based crystallization method for making silicon thin films for electronic applications. Because of Si6H12‘s unique chemical and physical properties, this unique material allows for homogenous “doping” (both p-type and n-type Si-based formulations) that can be used to make improved electronic and photovoltaic/solar devices.