By combining inexpensive, existing techniques, researchers from Ghent University and research institute Imec have created thermoplastic electronic circuits. The combination of techniques increases the creative possibilities with, for example, LED lamps.
The researchers presented their technique by showing an example of a round surface with meandering connections, resulting in ‘stretchable’ electronics. Through a combination of techniques that are incorporated in a thermoplastic polymer, it is then possible to deform the polymer by means of heat, without breaking the connections.
To print the circuits on the substrate, standard production techniques are sufficient. The final shape of the polymer is obtained by applying vacuum, high pressure molding or even injection molding. After cooling, the plastic retains its shape and is not under pressure due to the meandering circuits.
Processing LEDs and electronic circuits in this way is interesting for new possibilities with lighting. The technology is currently already being tested by the LED division of Philips, Imec writes on its site.