UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have invented a novel biocompatible flexible device fabrication method using fan-out wafer level processing (FOWLP).
Conventional device and substrate technologies require the use of rigid substrates, and it is common for microbumps to form on the chips. Flexible device methods also have serious limitations. For instance, FOWLP technologies have severe wafer bow due to the high-stress epoxies that are used as a mold resin. Also roll-to-roll technologies result in deformation in the large-area sheet-level processing, which is crucial for high performance devices and the formation of fine devices and wirings.
Researchers led by Professor Subramanian Iyer have developed a novel method to fabricate flexible electronics using FOWLP. Unlike conventional technologies, which use large chips with rigid substrates, this technology utilizes small dielets on flexible substrate in order to provide flexibility. Not only can this invention be processed at a wafer-level, but various device dielets with different thicknesses can be integrated and biocompatible resins, such as PDMS, can be used, thus providing heterogeneous integration. These innovative biocompatible flexible devices will have numerous applications, such as wearable sensors and implantable electrodes.
Prototype flexible devices have been fabricated using FOWLP and have been thoroughly tested.
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