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Design and Manufacturing of an Additive Manufactured Flexible Arduino®-Compatible Microcontroller

SystemX Seminar
Dr. Patricia Beck (NextFlex)
Allen Bldg. Rm. 101X
, -

About the talk: The emerging technology of additive, printed flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) promises to introduce a step change in how electronics are manufactured and used, creating products with innovative packaging and form factors.

As part of an FHE design and manufacturing demonstration project, the NextFlex Manufacturing Innovation Institute, in partnership with Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), undertook the translation of the electronic design of an Arduino Mini from standard PCB manufacturing processes into an FHE form factor with an unpackaged bare die replacing the standard QFN microprocessor package. The Arduino Mini board is a commonly used tool for prototyping of basic sensing systems, featuring an 8-bit microcontroller (Microchip ATMega328), onboard power regulators, and passive electronic components. Achievements include:

  • Development of design rules for the creation of printed FHE circuits
  • Creation of high precision traces using a printing process for mounting bare die ICs
  • Development of a process for attachment of a bare die IC to a flexible substrate

This demonstration project showed the suitability of additive printed circuit and FHE technology for the manufacturing of basic embedded systems using bare die attach methodology. This presentation will discuss the design and build process for the bare die Arduino®-compatible microcontroller device as well as more recent advances in the manufacturing of advanced bare die attach processes, suitable for active and passive sensors, on flexible substrates. Fabricating a robust electronic circuit as the basis for sensor and signal applications with unpackaged die, printed traces instead of wires, flexible substrates, and novel attach techniques presents unique challenges along the way to a unique solution.


About the speaker: Dr. Beck is a Principal Engineer in the Advanced Technologies Group at NextFlex which integrates smart electronics into new and unique materials to advance Flexible Hybrid Electronics. Her current work demonstrates new fabrication techniques and prototypes in the areas of smart conformable, wearable, and/or physically flexible systems. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford for research related to MEMS sensors and has previously tackled complex design, device, engineering, and product issues at Hewlett-Packard Labs, HP Divisions, and Bell Laboratories. Her work has included diverse investigations into semiconductor structure, fabrication and characterization, packaging and reliability, materials studies, robotics, solar energy, optoelectronics, high density storage, display technology, and health monitoring. She currently holds 30 US patents, is a Senior Member of IEEE and APS, and is on the board of the IEEE Bay Area MEMS and Sensors Chapter.