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Hard Silicon Wafers Yield Flexible Electronics

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the just-add-xenon-difluoride dept.

Hardware 15

MTorrice writes "By shaving off an ultrathin layer from the top of a silicon wafer, researchers have transformed rigid electronic devices into flexible ones. The shaving process could be used to fabricate parts for wearable electronics or displays that can roll up. Compared to similar techniques to make bendable silicon electronics, the new method is more cost-effective and produces more flexible devices, its developers say."

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Quite a sharp advance (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#46285649)

An ultrathin layer from atop a wafer
Brings flexible circuits to the fabricator
Burma Shave

5 blade (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 5 months ago | (#46285719)

Do they use a 5 blade razor or a twin blade. Maybe one for sensitive silicon? How do they prevent them from getting clogged?

Re:5 blade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46286087)

burma shave!

Re:Quite a sharp advance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46287811)

There once was a silicon wafer,
etched in a process with laser.
To get it bent
a researcher went
and cut of a slice with a razer.

Been done on solar for a while (3, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 months ago | (#46285677)

They've been doing this on solar cells for a while.

http://energy.sandia.gov/wp/wp... [sandia.gov]
http://www.solexel.com/Interso... [solexel.com]
http://www.sciencedaily.com/re... [sciencedaily.com]

Re:Been done on solar for a while (1)

boristdog (133725) | about 5 months ago | (#46289031)

This has been done on damn near everything for a while. Our packaging facility shaves off about 95% or more of the wafer, leaving a thin, almost transparent layer of the actual electronics. Then we stack 'em up and package them. It's how all those fancy flash memory cards are made.

free sister Megan Rice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46285723)

she does not protest her sentence, let us show the wwworld that mercy is the real justice from now on

But at what cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46285741)

At what cost?!?

How do I get back to classic? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46286097)

How do I get back to classic? beta sucks

Re:How do I get back to classic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46287173)

How do I get back to classic? beta sucks

The thing that sucks is all the anonymous cowards posting "beta sucks".

Anonymous cowards suck.

Re:How do I get back to classic? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 5 months ago | (#46287867)

go to your user options, discussion options, choose "Classic Discussion System (D1)".

this seems to protect from beta. but theres no "inline" replying.

Re:How do I get back to classic? (1)

mmell (832646) | about 5 months ago | (#46288121)

Just log out.

Re:How do I get back to classic? (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | about 5 months ago | (#46288677)

I'm logged in and I have classic.

What's the killer app for flexible ICs? (1)

MattskEE (925706) | about 5 months ago | (#46288187)

I have to wonder what the killer app is for flexible chips? Wearable electronics is always mentioned in this sort of press release, but we have Google Glass already which doesn't require flexible chips. Flexible circuit boards are already in wide use, sometimes with rigid areas to reinforce specific areas that don't need to flex. What applications truly require a flexible integrated circuit?

Flexible displays make sense for flexible integrated circuits but I'm still a bit skeptical about that because it seems like the sort of thing which would get damaged really easily. Unless flexible displays end up being used primarily for conforming to non-flat rigid surfaces but that seems like a pretty limited application still.

Maybe I'm not thinking ambitiously enough but I just don't see flexible integrated circuits meriting the buzz that they get.

Re:What's the killer app for flexible ICs? (1)

hamjudo (64140) | about 5 months ago | (#46289277)

Rigid silicon requires rigid interconnects. Flexible ICs allow flexible packaging, or different packaging. Instead of building from the printed circuit board up, build from the heatsink up. Use a precision pick and place system to glue the thin, wimpy, inexpensive silicon to the strong massive heatsink. Then mask on the solder balls. Then apply a thin, wimpy, inexpensive circuit "board". Attach all the old style surface mount components to the other side of the circuit "board". "Board" is in quotes because it would get all of its mechanical strength from heatsink. It might be so thin, it is no longer board like.

The big win here, is that one wafer is good for at least 5 sets of circuits. The lose is the grid of holes etched through the silicon as part of the pealing process. Assuming the grid of holes doesn't use up a significant portion of the surface area, the factory is getting close to 5 times as many devices out of each ingot of silicon.

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