Synthetic materials were popular in electronics in the past thanks to their insulating properties – today they are popular thanks to their outstanding conductive properties. Messe München already demonstrated in a special exhibition at Productronica 2005 how polymer electronics can be produced quickly and inexpensively. Productronica 2007 in Munich from 13 to 16 November 2007 is continuing the topic of "organic elec-tronics" as one of the key technologies for the 21st century and is providing a com-prehensive overview of the manufacturing processes for electronics, which are based on polymers and monomers (smaller molecules).
Organic electronics are not designed to replace silicon-based electronics. Instead, they expand the range of applications with their specific properties and attractive, low production costs. Polymer electronics are thinner, lighter and more flexible, very ro-bust with respect to impact, and can be used in many ways in transparent form. As a result, unusual applications are possible, for example, disposable diagnosis devices, solar cells that can be rolled up, interactive playing cards or packaging with advertis-ing displays.
Polymer electronics was revolutionized with the further development of conventional printing technologies. For example, OLEDs already come out of inkjet printers today, in that luminescent polymers are added to a solvent and this is applied to a carrier film via tiny jets, completely without elaborate and expensive clean room technology. RFIDs can also be produced in a similar way in large numbers at low prices per piece.
But electronics based on synthetic materials also provide additional advantages. In-tegrated circuits are embedded directly into the substrate using the Chip-in-Polymer (CiP) process of the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM). That not only makes the circuit board superfluous, but also bonding wire and sol-dered connections containing lead. As a result, the chips made of synthetic material are shielded to the outside and are especially suited to mobile telephony and auto-motive applications.
Polymer electronics are also in the forefront in matters of miniaturization, for exam-ple, with nano-wire transistors. Chips, storage unit, logic and sensor technology can be combined on one single component 10 nanometers wide in compressed form. In this way, for example, exhaust fume sensors can be produced, which can detect indi-vidual molecules and monitor fuel consumption of a car precisely.
Organic electronics cover a complete product range, including semi-conductors based on synthetic materials, organic displays, organic data storage units, sensors and photovoltaics. Their growing acceptance and spreading is having very positive effects on suppliers of electronic components, basic materials, production equipment and tools as well as research institutes, system integrators and terminal equipment manufacturers.
Productronica 2007 will provide manufacturing technologies in all 10 trade fair halls, which are relevant for the production of organic electronics. The focal point will be the Micro-Production Hall B5, in which the Organic Electronic Association (OE-A) also has its booth. Exhibitors in this high-tech sector include companies such as LPKF Laser & Electronics AG, Garbsen, the global market leader for laboratory equipment for circuit board prototyping and laser cutting systems for print templates, MSC-POLYMER AG, Staufenberg, with semi-finished parts and (synthetic material) manu-facturing materials for circuit board production, the Chair for Polymer Materials of Er-langen-Nuremberg University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microin-tegration (IZM), Berlin.