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. An example is shown in Figure 1.
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 totally novel and 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 as shown in Figure 2 can be replaced by flexible solutions.
In this regard, the FFlexCom programme wants to pave the way for the first circuits and systems for wireless communications, which are fully integrated in flexible TOLAE technologies.
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.