Printed electronics: Joint research project MaDriX accomplishes a cross-company uniform material characterization in components

Fürth, Germany (September 3, 09) – ‘The market for organic and printed electronics will grow to become a multi-billion market over the next ten years,’ says Wolfgang Mildner, Chairman of the Organic Electronics Association (OE-A) and Managing Director of PolyIC GmbH & Co. KG.

This market can only be opened up via the development of new, more efficient materials that are suitable for implementation in roll-to-roll processes. For this reason, more efficient materials are being specifically developed in the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research)-funded project MaDriX. These are suitable for processing in printing processes and thus facilitate mass production.

A fundamental key to success is a uniform understanding with regard to the requirements of these new materials. This has been defined by the determination of material parameters and through the introduction of a unvarying test environment for new materials. New materials can thus be developed in a targeted manner, meaning that a faster and more efficient market introduction of these materials can be achieved for printed electronics. The cross-company standardization of test conditions facilitates the comparability of results that are generated at various sites by the project partners.

The companies PolyIC, BASF, Evonik Industries, ELANTAS Beck and Siemens are participating in the MaDriX project. In addition to the process parameters for the production of samples, a uniform process for characterization has been defined. The simplification of the measurement environment and the measurement parameters is done by a statistical measurement system that has been developed by Jacobs University Bremen which is available to all project partners and supplies a meaningful data basis through reproducible measurement values.

‘The participating partners PolyIC, BASF, Evonik Industries, ELANTAS Beck and Siemens have thus reached an important interim goal,’ says project coordinator Dr Jasmin Wörle of PolyIC: ‘Reproducible components that have been produced on the basis of a state-of-the-art system, in the same quality and performance for all project partners at different sites – that is an innovation in this young industry.'

The measurement values received for new materials now permit a statement about whether a material that has been developed at the chemicals partners BASF, Evonik Industries and ELANTAS Beck is suitable for use in the sector of printed electronics and results in components with enhanced functionality at PolyIC. The successful development of an inspection system by the company Siemens also permits a detailed and prompt characterization of the roll-to-roll printed materials.

It is thus possible to make a pre-selection of new materials at the chemicals partners. This in turn permits a detailed examination of only selected materials, therefore enabling a substantially faster and more targeted development of components and circuits with considerably enhanced functionality on the basis of new materials.

PolyIC leads the consortium engaged in the three-year joint project. The total investment sum amounts to some €15 million, with the BMBF contributing approximately €8 million. The project is funded as part of the BMBF’s 5th Framework Program “Key Technologies – Research for Innovations, Communications Technology Sector.” The German Aerospace Center, DLR, is acting as project sponsor. With MaDriX, the companies involved in the alliance and the federal ministry will secure Germany’s current leadership as a research base in the printable electronics sector.