Carlos Garcia Nuñez and Fengyuan Liu take part in a Q&A about the Element Integration Techniques for Micro/Nanostructure-Based Large-Area Electronicspart of Cambridge Elements in Flexible and Large-Area Electronics.

Q: What inspired Integration Techniques for Micro/Nanostructure-Based Large-Area Electronics?

A: The writing of this Element was inspired by the need for a monograph presenting the great advances recently achieved in the field of advanced nanostructured materials and their integration over large-areas and non-conventional substrates. The tremendous applicability of both inorganic and organic nanomaterials on a wide range of applications, including optoelectronics, electronics, photonics, photovoltaics, sensors, etc. have fostered development of new techniques to carry out the high-performance integration and manufacturing of nanostructures-based electronic devices over large areas. The topic is really timely to the investigations that are being conducted in Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) Group at the University of Glasgow, which also gave us a good background to revise the state-of-the-art.

Prof. Ravinder Dahiya – leader of BEST Group and the team of co-authors, analysed the literature in-depth and found that this Element would nicely complement other books presenting specific types of nanomaterials, integration approaches, or applications, by including state-of-the-art integration techniques employed to fabricate large-area electronics based on nanostructures. Moreover, the topic of this Element was timely to the research work developed at BEST group, as well as some other leading groups worldwide (e.g. Prof. Roger’s group at Northwestern University and Prof. Javey’s group at Stanford University), comprising synthesis of nanostructures such as inorganic semiconductor nanowires and graphene, integration of nanostructures using transfer-printing and non-uniform electric fields.

Figure 1. Contact-printing of ZnO and Si nanowires on flexible large-area substrates.


Q: What do you hope will be the lasting impact of this book?

A: It is hoped that, besides compiling the most relevant works reported in the literature presenting the controlled integration of nanostructures on different kinds of substrates, this Element will persuade readers to immerse themselves more deeply in the field of flexible and large-area electronics. I believe it is one of the main near future research interests in this post silicon era. The topic discussed here also aligns with the electronics industry roadmap, which clearly indicates electronics in the future will be developed by printing. Thus, lasting impact is expected in the field of printed electronics.


Q: What is your favourite historical anecdote included in your book?

A: A few years ago, in different works, Prof. Rogers and Prof. Someya reported a new concept of electronics developed on non-conventional substrates, allowing the integration of electronics on human bodies for biomedical applications. That expression of interest on developing electronics (device architecture, system level, etc.) on substrates with features such as biocompatibility, wearability, conformability, stretchability, etc. forces the scientific community to think about new kind of integration techniques for the development of conventional electronics but on non-conventional substrates. That was the origin of the skin-like electronics, particularly for health monitoring applications. Prof. Dahiya’s work on skin-like electronics for robotics and prosthetics is well-known as well. Many of the techniques included in this Element have been ambitious investigations to integrate nanostructures on substrates for skin-like electronic applications – ranging from humans to humanoids.


Q: What topical events have illustrated the real world applications of your research?

A: The experimental process developed by Javey’s Group, demonstrating the successful printing of up to multiple nanowires based films using contact-printing technique, (given in Chapter 3 of this Element) opens up a new way to understand the electronics, revolving the conventional two-dimensional (2D) electronics and paving the way to a pioneer architecture based on three-dimensional (3D) electronic devices. This chapter also shows the latest research reported by Roger’s group, presenting the large-area roll-printing of nanowires which will make the integration of such nanostructures compatible with mass-production and roll-to-roll techniques.

Figure 2. Contact-printing of 10 nanowires layers.


Q: Can you summarize your new book?

A: Advanced nanostructured materials such as organic and inorganic micro/nanostructures are excellent building blocks for electronics, optoelectronics, sensing, and photovoltaics because of their high-crystallinity, large aspect-ratio, high surface-to-volume ratio, and low dimensionality. However, their assembly over large areas and integration into functional circuits require intensive investigations. This Element provides detailed description of various technologies to realize micro/nanostructures based large-area electronics (LAE) devices on rigid or flexible/stretchable substrates.

The first section of this Element provides an introduction to the state-of-the-art integration techniques used to fabricate LAE devices based on different kinds of micro/nanostructures. The second section describes inorganic and organic micro/nanostructures, including most common and promising synthesis procedures. In the third section, different techniques are included to reveal their great potential for the integration of micro/nanostructures over large areas. Finally, the fourth section summarizes important remarks about LAE devices based on micro/nanostructures, and some potential future directions.

You can read the Element Integration Techniques for Micro/Nanostructure-Based Large-Area Electronics for free until January 2019 by clicking here.

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