DFG Project Priority Programme FFLexCom SPP 1796

Priority Programme “High Frequency Flexible Bendable Electronics for Wireless Communication Systems” (FFlexCom, SPP 1796)

Aim of the Project - Overview
A new Priority Programme entitled “High Frequency Flexible Bendable Electronics for Wireless Communication Systems” (FFlexCom, SPP 1796) has been established by the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). The programme is planned to run for six years. In this present call, we invite to submit proposals for the first funding period of three years.
In the past, electronic devices have mainly been advanced regarding performance, power consumption and costs. A further interesting property of future electronics is mechanical flexibility which can come together with advantageous features such as bendability, stretchability, light weight, ultra thinness, transparency, large area integration and easy recyclability. These properties can be achieved by modern TOLAE (thin film organic and large area electronics) technologies.

Cut-off frequencies up to the MHz range and bending radii down to 3 mm were reported for TOLAE devices such as transistors. These recent achievements indicate a novel promising research area: wireless communication systems fully integrated on ultra-thin, bendable and flexible substrates such as plastic or even paper. Hence, conventional rigid circuit boards would not be required any more. However, to enable functional flexible systems and sufficiently high operation frequencies for wireless communications, the speed of flexible TOLAE devices and circuits must be massively increased.

The FFlexCom programme wants to pave the way for the first circuits and systems for wireless communications, which are fully integrated in TOLAE technologies. We expect to cover the following areas:
  • Research on optimised wireless system architectures taking into account the limited operation frequencies, bandwidths and device counts of TOLAE technologies. Activities demonstrating the data communication on basis of receivers and/or transmitters fully integrated in TOLAE technologies are highly encouraged. The investigations can also include multifunctional flexible wireless systems featuring localisation radar and identification in addition to communications.Design of key circuits such as low noise amplifiers, power amplifiers, low noise oscillators and synthesisers, frequency converters, analogue to digital converters and digital to analogue converters, as well as simple data modulators and demodulators using fast TOLAE technologies. One main challenge is to achieve sufficiently high operation frequencies considering the moderate performance of TOLAE devices.
  • Exploration of concepts for TOLAE devices such as transistors and diodes which enable very high operation frequencies up to the GHz regime. Examples for corresponding innovations are: Vertical transistor structures, aggressively down-scaled gate lengths, 2-D semiconductors or even 1-D structures. Advanced organic and inorganic high-mobility materials such as indium gallium zinc oxide, zinc tin oxide, molybdenum sulphide, tungsten disulphide, are examples for promising candidates for high speed TOLAE transistors. Low loss passive TOLAE devices (if possible tuneable) such as inductors, capacitors, antennas, filters and resonators are also important components.
  • Precise compact small signal, large signal and noise modelling for the TOLAE devices enabling efficient circuit design.
  • Advanced studies for low loss homogeneous and heterogeneous packaging of TOLAE devices and TOLAE based interconnects maintaining flexibility.
The fabrication methods of the devices, circuits and systems can e.g. be based on printing, nano-imprint, lithography, spray-coating, transfer printing and hybrid approaches. Implementations on flexible plastic or paper substrates, as well as on flexible ultra-thinned chips (e.g. on silicon), are considered. The research should have suited application scenarios in mind. Examples for applications are data communications for sensor and actuator networks, medical and on-body use, fully flexible broadcast radios, smart item tracking, and textile integration. Further ideas aiming at advancing the speed of TOLAE devices, circuits and systems for wireless communications and visions for corresponding applications are welcome.

To enable the required breakthrough for wireless communication systems fully integrated in TOLAE technologies, the combination of multidisciplinary competences is required. Hence, FFlexCom aims at bringing together experts from different disciplines including electrical engineering, physics, chemistry and mechanical engineering. To stimulate the synergies and the networking between the projects, organise joined workshops and dissemination activities, promote young researchers and gender issues, a coordinating project will be implemented.
Funding and Duration
This project is financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Priority Programme
Duration: Förderzeitraum: 2015 to August 2018

Coordinator: Professor Dr.-Ing. Frank Ellinger,
Technische Universität Dresden, Institut für Grundlagen der Elektrotechnik und Elektronik,
Professur für Schaltungstechnik und Netzwerktheorie,
Barkhausenbau, Raum 119 Helmholtzstraße 18 01062 Dresden
Phone: +49 351 463-38735, Email: frank.ellinger@tu-dresden.de

DFG Cooperation
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG Ingenieurwissenschaften (German Research Foundation), Bonn, Germany.

Further Information
Contact: Prof. Alessio Gagliardi
Homepage: Simulation of Nanosystems for Energy Conversion