Michelle Winny, editor of Electronics visited the IMAPS-UK Microtech 2015 Packaging Technologies & Trends annual conference at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in Oxford, where key challenges and solutions for packaging devices for The Internet of Things, Wearable Consumer and Medical devices were explored.
The Internet of Things is a rapidly evolving technical arena that is quickly being diversified by the range of applications these technologies are being integrated into across many industries. This is also driving the micro electronics sector with new capabilities in material science; in particular it is advancing Wearable Consumer and Medical devices.
At Imaps Microtech 2015 held at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), Didcot, near Oxford in February, researchers delivered presentations on the latest ground breaking work being carried out in this sector.
Talks included exploratory research into future technology trends in wearable technology, investigating the boundaries of “Smart Textiles” for wearables and intelligent Fabrics. These technologies have the ability to offer significant benefits for the medical sector, for instance offering advanced patient monitoring capabilities and device miniaturisation.
A keynote address from The President and Founder of TechSearch International explored the capabilities of wearable devices such as activity monitoring cameras and wrist devices, medical electronics and clothing. Key enabling components here typically gather metric information that is transmitted by MEMs, sensors and processors. Key issues involving this technology and explored during the talk included reliability requirements and their conditions of use. Therefore new test requirements are emerging to meet the environmental conditions and human use conditions of these devices.
The presentation explored the requirements of semiconductor packages used in these devices and how they are being integrated in the assembly of these products. The talk considered the use of substrates including laminate PCB-material, flex circuit, rigid-flex, as well as new fabrics with metallic yarns.
A talk given by experts from the National Physical Laboratory focusing on smart textiles highlighted the capabilities smart materials are offering to the medical and fitness industry for everything from wound management to well-being and sports apparel. These capabilities are being enabled by the miniaturisation of sensors, controllers, and communication devices but one key issue here is the complexity of connecting the parts within the garment.
During the presentation experts from NPL discussed their key findings in the development of materials and characterisation methods. The company presented its latest research into the development of new meteorology tools to characterise performance of a novel silver system solution for smart textiles and for developing a carbon nano-tube solution.
Experts from CPI considered the “Commercialisation Challenges in Wearable Technology: Drawing on the Experience of Printed Electronics”. The talk highlighted how, although there is a strong market interest in printed electronics, there are still key challenges with bringing these technologies to market for volume applications. The presentation explored how this is being addressed by efforts to establish a supply chain which is essential for growth and development of wearable technology.
A presentations was also delivered by leading experts from ARM exploring the capabilities of its mbed IoT device platform and how this is facilitating the adoption of IoT devices.
Experts from FlexEnable explored the latest “OFT and flexible AM displays and how this is playing its part in the display interface of IoT devices.
The event also explored the latest trends and capabilities in Advanced Packaging with keynote presentations on “Nano-ceramic Aluminium Semiconductor packaging” with talks from specialists at Cambridge Nanotherm; whilst experts from BPA Consulting were on hand to discuss the latest innovations in “New Substrate and Board Technology for handling Power and Heart” capabilities.
From the commercial side to the academic, a keynote address on “Electrochemical Sensor Packaging for Integrated Microsystems” investigated the depth of electrochemical sensors and their potential use cases in wearable devices, largely down to the ease of fabrication, miniaturisation, high performance and low-cost. Whilst a presentation on “Development of a Paper-based Molecular Diagnostic Device for Point-of-Care testing” explored the merits of microfluidic devices and the technology of lateral flow assays performed on porous media. The presentation discussed a chitosan functionalised paper-based lateral flow mediated nucleic acid extraction method which can be integrated with existing biosensing mechanisms into a lateral flow molecular diagnostic device.
Research on “High Performing Semiconducting Polymers for Organic Electronics” explored the evolution of organic electronics and its commercialisation. This is being enabled by the recent market introduction of the first prototypes based on organic transistors. The talk explored the design and performance of state-of-the-art semiconducting polymers, along with addressing important structure-property relationships in polymer design and how improvements have been enabled for both organic field-effect transistors and organic solar cells.
IMAPS (International Microelectronics, Assembly and Packaging Society is dedicated to the advancement and growth of microelectronics and advanced electronics packaging. IMAPS UK is a registered charity and is pivotal in the UK’s advanced electronics industry.