Printed Image Sensors Can Be Flexible, Says Plastic Logic
Earlier this year Plastic Logic announced that it had successfully developed the world’s first flexible image sensor array in collaboration with ISORG, a leader in organic
This sensor was produced by combining a flexible organic backplane, developed by Plastic Logic, with a flexible organic
This is the first time an organic
It’s exciting in that the technology can easily scale to much higher pixel densities and larger areas.
Indeed, the flexible backplane technology had already been industrialised by Plastic Logic and had been shown over larger areas and for pixel densities up to 300ppi, meaning that high performance sensor arrays are possible for small or large areas.
With a few design adjustments, this same backplane technology used for displays can be used in a sensor array: instead of writing voltages onto pixel capacitors, the same pixels are used to store charge created by the
This is a standard way of using backplanes in sensor arrays, for example, in digital
The Advantage of Using Organic Materials
There are a number of advantages of using organic materials for the
Firstly, the organic layer can have a very high absorption coefficient, meaning that only very thin layers of the material are needed (around 0.1 micron), deposited as a continuous film. The full coating surface enables photo detection on whole surface for a 100% pixel fill factor.
Secondly, the spectral range of the OPD component can be broad, meaning that imaging systems able to employ the same component type for
In terms of manufacture, both the backplane and the OPD layer are made using printing operations at ambient temperature, potentially leading to substantial
Flexible sensors can be conformed around a curved surface, and made just a few tens of microns in thickness, thereby adding almost no incremental weight to a product. This has clear benefits for mobile devices, and opens up myriad design possibilities for new products.
A less obvious, but potentially
Other application areas include smart packaging for logistics, biomedical diagnostics and monitoring, user identification and fingerprint scanning for security and mobile commerce, 3D interactive user interfaces and
Organic electronic materials have now reached a performance point where they can meet or exceed that of the equivalent inorganic technology, and has already been proven in an industrial scale for the manufacture of flexible displays.
This combined with the benefits of truly flexible, durable, or
Paul Cain is head of business planning at Plastic Logic.