The Flexible Electronics and Display Center (FEDC) and PARC recently announced that they have successfully manufactured what they claim to be the world's largest flexible x-ray detector prototypes using advanced thin film transistors (TFTs) - based on a-Si technology.
Measuring 10 inches (diagonal), the device has been jointly developed at the FEDC and PARC in conjunction with the Army Research Lab (ARL) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The device will be used to advance the development of flexible X-ray detectors for use in thin, lightweight, conformable and highly rugged devices.
The TFT and PIN diode processing was done on the 470 mm by 370 mm Gen II line at the FEDC. This device showcases the center's successful scale up to GEN II, and the ability to produce sensors and displays using TFTs in standard process flows with the centre’s proprietary bond/de-bond technology. These detectors are unique in that they showcase both of the flexible substrates the center uses to make devices. Some of the new detectors are on PEN (Polyethylene Naphthalate) and some are on polyimide.
The system design and integration was done at PARC. The flexible X-ray sensor was coupled to a tablet device for control and image viewing. This system shows PARC’s capability to build user-defined prototype systems incorporating novel device physics, materials and technology. PARC has extensive experience in building large-area electronic systems, display and backplane prototypes, and organic and printed electronics.
Figure: FEDC/PARC - Flexible x-ray detector prototypes
Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU, said, "This achievement is a fantastic example of how academia, industry and government can collaborate to advance key technologies and national priorities." Panch added, "Flexible electronics hold tremendous potential to accelerate our global competitiveness in the area of advanced manufacturing by partnering with federal agencies and industry leaders."
Bob Street, PARC Senior Research Fellow, said, "This success came from a rewarding collaboration that combines FEDC’s flexible array fabrication technology and PARC’s experience with digital x-ray systems."
I realise that this doesn't contain any "organic" technology but as an example of flexible and novel application it appears to be a good demonstrator - it would be interesting to know how easily this could be reproduced using organic technologies. Given the progress made with organic backplanes and organic photodetectors I wonder when such a device may appear - the base technology is probably available in labs in around the world - and I know that several demonstrators have combined some of these element - but it would be really interesting to see a fully working application.