Flexible Electronics: Status, Challenges and Opportunities

The concept of flexible electronics has been around for several decades. In principle, anything thin or very long can become flexible. While cables and wiring are the prime example for flexibility, it was not until the space race that silicon wafers used for solar cells in satellites were thinned to increase their power per weight ratio, thus allowing a certain degree of warping. This concept permitted the first flexible solar cells in the 1960s (Crabb and Treble, 1967). The development of conductive polymers (Shirakawa et al., 1977), organic semiconductors, and amorphous silicon (Chittick et al., 1969; Okaniwa et al., 1983) in the following decades meant huge strides toward flexibility and processability, and thus these materials became the base for electronic devices in applications that require bending, rolling, folding, and stretching, among other properties that cannot be fulfilled by conventional electronics (Cheng and Wagner, 2009) (Figure 1).

Corzo, D., Tostado-Blázquez, G., & Baran, D. (2020). Flexible Electronics: Status, Challenges and Opportunities. Frontiers in Electronics, 1. doi:10.3389/felec.2020.594003

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