See on Youtube the first image scanning by a plastic image sensor :
ISORG and Plastic Logic have co-developed the first conformable organic image sensor on plastic, with the potential to revolutionise weight/power trade-offs and optical design parameters for any systems with a digital imaging element.
First presentation will be publicly unveiled at Printed Electronics USA 2013 in Santa Clara on november 20th-21th 2013.
The collaboration is based on the deposition of organic printed photodetectors (OPD), pioneered by ISORG, onto a plastic organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) backplane, developed by the technology leader, Plastic Logic, to create a flexible sensor with a 4x4 cm active area, 375um pitch (175um pixel size with 200um spacing) and 94 x 95 = 8 930 pixel resolution.
The backplane design, production process and materials were optimised for the application by Plastic Logic to meet ISORG's requirements. The result, a flexible, transmissive backplane, represents a significant breakthrough in the manufacture of new large area image sensors and demonstrates the potential use of Plastic Logic's unique flexible transistor technology to also move beyond plastic displays. Combined with ISORG's unique organic photodetector technology, it opens up the possibilities for a range of new applications, based around digital image sensing, including smart packaging and sensors for medical equipment and biomedical diagnostics, security and mobile commerce (user identification by fingerprint scanning), environmental, industrial, scanning surfaces and 3D interactive user interfaces for consumer electronics (printers, smartphones, tablets, etc.).
ISORG a développé des interfaces utilisateurs / interfaces homme-machine
innovantes basées sur ses capteurs optiques en électronique organique
imprimée, les Magic Twist et Magic Slider.
Grâce aux photodétecteurs de grande surface positionnés sous la
surface, les surfaces de verre et de plastique sont transformées en
surfaces interactives capable de détection de proximité de la main et de
détection de mouvements. Ces surfaces peuvent être utilisées comme
surfaces tactiles avec des usages robustes (opérant avec de la graisse et
de l'eau sur la surface, opération avec des gants), en particulier pour
les produits électroménagers et applications industrielles. Elles peuvent
également être utilisées sans contact par détection à quelques centimètres
de la surface (par détection de lumière infra-rouge réfléchie par la
main). Cette interaction sans contact permet la création d'objets à très
forte innovation et haute valeur ajoutée pour le marché de
l'électroménager et des jouets.
Vidéos en ligne sur Youtube :
Magic Twist :
Magic Slider :
A new prototype demonstrate the potential of conformable plastic-based image sensors.
Flexible image sensor
A recently unveiled proof-of-concept device indicate the strides being made towards flexible plastic-based image sensors, and the potential advantages they may have over their inorganic counterparts.
The device developed by Plastic Logic of the UK and France's ISORG, was on show at the LOPE-C 2013 printed electronics conference held in Germany in June 2013.
On the threshold
The Anglo-French sensor is said to be the first conformable organic image sensor of its type, potentially allowing more favorable power-to-weight trade-offs and novel optical design parameters for any systems with a digital imaging element.
"This is the first time an organic thin-cell transistor backplane has been combined with a organic photodiode layer which is printed over the plastic substrate," confirmed Ian Reid of Plastic Logic to Optics.org. "Plastic Logic manufactured the plastic organic thin-film transistor backplane, which was then combined with ISORG's organic photodetector (OPD) technology. Some integration work was involved, but both processes are fundamentally mature and established by the respective companies."
The result was a flexible sensor with a 4 x 4 cm active area; a pitch of 375 microns, with 175 microns pixel size and 200 microns spacing; and a 94 x 95 pixel grid.
"This is a proof-of-concept demonstrator and was designed as such, so we did not push the manufacturing process or the sensor performance to its absolute limit," noted Reid. "The pixel resolution, which is determined by the backplane, equates to 60 pixels per inch (ppi); not spectacular, but chosen to simplify the testing and characterization task at this stage."
Although the developers have set no target resolution for any final product, the high-resolution processing developed by Plastic Logic for the manufacture of backplanes in electrophoretic displays has comfortably achieved densities of 150 to 225 ppi, so steps towards that figure seem readily foreseeable.
Both the backplane and the OPD layer are manufactured using printing operations at ambient temperature, potentially leading to substantial cost-efficiencies compared to the manufacturing processes involved in traditional inorganic components. A printing operation could also enable distributed sensor arrays over larger areas than can be achieved by silicon-based processes, avoiding the limits imposed by wafer size and fabrication technology.
The flexible nature of the sensors should bring its own advantages, lending itself to non-planar sensor arrays following curved or distorted paths, and opening up an extra design dimension for engineers. A further advantage could be the greater spectral range commonly shown by OPD components, and Reid envisages imaging systems able to employ the same component type for near-IR and visible sensing.
"We have known for some time that our flexible plastic technology is usable not just in backplanes for driving displays, but for other types of applications too," he said. "Having industrialized a process successfully for driving electrophoretic displays, it's natural to look at where we can take the technology. We are on the threshold of something very exciting in the flexible electronics area, and the design community is starting to think about what they can do with it."
Tim Hayes is a contributing editor at Optics.org
Printed Electronics USA, Santa Clara, CA— Laurent Jamet from ISORG presented the results of their efforts to print near-IR opto-detectors on various substrates. The capability to place optical detectors on a substrate allows new modes of sensing and interactivity in many applications.
Photodetectors with near linear response and low dark current are possible with printable materials. An active matrix of detectors can resolve at resolutions down to 50 microns, and can scale to larger image sizes. The sensor arrays are placed in a 32 x 38cm area in a sheet-to-sheet process. The process can use either glass or plastic substrates.
For large area sensing, the image resolution can be increased up to 1cm and the functions can be set for larger object detection. The resulting flexible electronics can be placed on non-planar surfaces. This flexible circuitry needs mechanical integration to achieve thin, light, and customizable optical sensing.
Some specialized applications include 3-D detection over a 0-50cm range, large area detection, and non-optical sensing. Interactive surfaces in various configurations are possible. Some functions include point of sales terminals, interactive posters, smart phones, and man-machine interfaces. Other areas like toys, educational environments, automotive, and consumer electronics can all use this technology, as well as some versions of smart packaging.
Potentially, this material can be used to replace a computer mouse, but the resolution will call for a sensor that is over 6-inches in diameter. The detectors can be coupled with IR emitters to from an active sensor that can detect gross and medium coarseness motions. One version of the sensor array can detect motions of a whole hand, or individual fingers, but could not detect a single finger motion
December 6, 2012
Media & Entertainment Technology