Plotting a Moore’s Law for Flexible Electronics

A five-year project at Imec aims to make big boosts in the density of thin-film transistor circuitry

3 min read
Photo: IMEC
Near Field Communicator: There are 1,700 transistors on the flexible chip in this NFC transmitter.
Photo: IMEC

At a meeting in midtown Manhattan, Kris Myny picks up what looks like an ordinary paper business card and, with little fanfare, holds it to his smartphone. The details of the card appear almost immediately on the screen inside a custom app.

It’s a simple demonstration, but Myny thinks it heralds an exciting future for flexible circuitry. In January, he began a five-year project at the nanoelectronics research institute Imec in Leuven, Belgium, to demonstrate that thin-film electronics has significant potential outside the realm of display electronics. In fact, he hopes that the project, funded with a €1.5 million grant from the European Research Council (ERC), could demonstrate that there is a path for the mass production of denser and denser flexible circuits—in other words, a Moore’s Law for bendable ICs.

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A Circuit to Boost Battery Life

Digital low-dropout voltage regulators will save time, money, and power

11 min read
Image of a battery held sideways by pliers on each side.
Edmon de Haro

YOU'VE PROBABLY PLAYED hundreds, maybe thousands, of videos on your smartphone. But have you ever thought about what happens when you press “play”?

The instant you touch that little triangle, many things happen at once. In microseconds, idle compute cores on your phone's processor spring to life. As they do so, their voltages and clock frequencies shoot up to ensure that the video decompresses and displays without delay. Meanwhile, other cores, running tasks in the background, throttle down. Charge surges into the active cores' millions of transistors and slows to a trickle in the newly idled ones.

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