Flexible electronics and electroceramics: an oxymoron?

Pim Groen

For large area flexible or printed electronics, the aim is to make electronic products on a flexible polymer, paper or metal substrate. Examples of these products can be Organic LEDs (OLEDS), solar cells, RFID tags, smart cards, wearables and on longer term even complete flexible smart phones. When more functionality is introduced in this field there will be a need for flexible electronic components like capacitors and all kinds of sensors. These electronic components are now typically based on ceramics. These class of electroceramics include the ferroelectrics which are used in capacitors and piezoelectrics but also Negative and Positive Temperature Coefficient (NTC, PTC) thermistors. All these Electroceramics are intrinsically non-flexible! In this course we will discuss various research and development which is being done to come to more flexible components. This can be achieved by making composites out of a polymer matrix and a filler material which can consists of electroceramic-powder. Specific materials can be designed by structuring of  electroceramic powder in the polymer matrix, particle size and aspect ratio, and by the polymer which is used. This opens up new ways to make functional components.