06 April 2017
A method to fabricate and integrate flexible memory devices into low performance applications has been developed by a group of researchers at Munich University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) and INRS-EMT in Canada.
The group has demonstrated a proof of concept to inkjet print resistive memory (ReRAM). It claims the technique paves the way for mass-producing printable electronics.
“In any kind of memory, the basic memory unit must be switchable between two states. For ReRAM devices, these two states are defined by the resistance of the memory cell,” explained Bernhard Huber, doctoral student at INRS-EMT.
For the conductive-bridge random access memory used by the group, ‘0’ is a high resistance state represented by the high resistance of an insulating spin-on glass, which separates a conducting polymer electrode from a silver electrode.
The ‘1’ is a low resistance state, which is given by a metallic filament that grows into the spin-on glass and provides a reversible short-circuit between the two electrodes.
“We not only demonstrated that a complete additive printing process was possible but also that the performance parameters are comparable to cleanroom-fabricated devices,” said MUAS Professor Christina Schindler.
“The biggest technological appeal is the mechanical flexibility of our memory tiles, and the fact that all materials required for processing are commercially available. Our biggest surprise was how little device performance depends on the fabrication process.”
Print-on-demand electronics are said to show potential for small and flexible lines of production and end-user products.
“Just imagine supermarkets printing their own smart tags or public transport providers customising multifunctional tickets on demand. ‘Wearables’ that explicitly require flexible electronics may also benefit,” Prof Schindler concluded.
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