Research Projects

Multi-functional Substrate Platform for Smart Sensor with Wireless Interface Applications

This is a project of the A*STAR Thematic Strategic Research Programme (TSRP) for Singapore-Poland Science & Technology Co-operation. The project focuses on the development of micro structuring technology, multi-functional substrate platform and wireless interface for smart sensors and microsystems. 

The main objectives of the project include: (1) investigations on imprinting/printing technologies for patterning metallic and organic patterns on rigid/flexible substrates, and development of multi-layer/multi-material imprinting/printing processes for integrated passives and multi-functional substrates; (2) design, simulation, optimisation and fabrication of wireless interface for smart sensors and cost-effective sensor platforms.

Contact PersonShan Xuechuan(xcshan@SIMTech.a-star.edu.sg)
Solution

Wireless interface for smart sensors is preferred to overcome the drawbacks of conventional wired approach. This project will focus on the realisation of wireless interface for smart sensors and microsystems through the development of multi-functional substrate platform. The key challenges are the electromagnetic design and micro patterning of miniaturised, high aspect ratio and low-loss passives. 

In collaboration with Warsaw University of Technology in Poland, we have established a roller embossing process for structuring micro patterns, including micro cavities and channels, in soft substrates including green ceramics and plastic substrates. We have realized large area roller embossing (150 mm x 150 mm panel size) with good fidelity. We have achieved a channel width as small as 50 mm on both green ceramics and on plastic substrates with an aspect ratio (channel depth/ channel width) of about 1:1. Process integration of embossing with screen printing has been demonstrated to achieve high aspect ratio conductor patterns.

ApplicationsThe execution of the proposed project has great impact. Companies oriented on batch production of microsensors and microsystems will be interested in multi-functional substrates, sensor interface standardisation and reliability improvement. The developed micro-imprinting/printing technologies in the project can be used for patterning metallic, organic, multi-level and multi-materials structures on multi-functional substrates. The developed wireless interface technology will provide a standard platform for pluggable and replaceable smart sensors. The combination of micro-structuring technology and wireless interface technology will find wide applications in smart sensor reconfigurations, sensor distribution networks, wearable electronics, flexible display, etc.

Problems Addressed

Proliferation of low-power smart sensors is driving the need for advanced data communication interfaces. The drawbacks of conventional wired approach include: thermal stress and mechanical stress due to silicon-to-package mismatch, limited testability prior to packaging and inability to accommodate multi-sensors.