Abstract: The commercialization of foldable mobile phones makes the year of 2019 been regarded as the starting year of flexible electronics. However, apart from the flexible displays which contribute to the foldable phones, flexible electronics products in a broader sense still remains unrea-lized. One of the key reasons is not all the functional electronic components have been successively flexibilized in commercial level. For example, there are still no flexible alternatives for the transistors and integrated circuits (ICs) which are indispensable to any electronic system. And the complete functions of an electronic system still rely on rigid IC chips and printed circuit boards (PCBs). To overcome this barrier, no other choice is practicable except fabricating flexible electronic systems that integrate traditional rigid ICs. There are currently two approaches to achieving this integration — transferring thin silicon chips onto a flexible substrate; or the so called “flexible hybrid electronics” — in which the latter is based on printing technique and is of simplicity, low cost and high throughput potential. Herein, I sketch out the technical approach of flexible hybrid electronics, and give a summary of the research progress of the ink materials and printing process for flexible electronics printing manufacturing. In addition, I also present a retrospective report showing the achievements of the author's Printable Electronics Research Center in the last 10 years in the area of printed electronics. This paper intends to prove that we can create flexible electronic products closer to practical applications and more competitive through printing conductive interconnects on flexible substrates, which can be an effective methodology, at the current technology level, to greatly advance the commercialization of flexible electronics.
1 William S, Wong, Alberto Salleo, ed. Flexible electronics: materials and applications, Springer, USA, 2009. 2 Boutry C M, Nguyen A, Lawal Q O, et al. Advanced Materials, 2015, 27(43), 6954. 3 Yao Y, Dong H, Hu W. Advanced Materials, 2016, 28(22), 4513. 4 Li T, Luo H, Qin L, et al. Small, 2016, 12(36), 5042. 5 Trung T Q, Lee N E. Advanced Materials, 2017, 29(3), 1603167. 6 Liu Y, He K, Chen G, et al. Chemical Reviews, 2017, 117(20),12893. 7 Long Y Z, Yu M, Sun B, et al.Chemical Society Reviews, 2012, 41(12), 4560. 8 Li R W, Liu G, ed. Flexible and stretchable electronics: materials, design, and devices, Pan Stanford Publishing Pte Ltd, Singapore, 2019 9 Shen G Z, Fan Z Y, ed. Flexible electronics:from materials to devices, World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd, Singapore, 2016. 10 Sun Y, Rogers J A. Advanced Materials, 2007, 19(15), 1897. 11 Kim D H, Kim Y S, Wu J, et al. Advanced Materials, 2009, 21(36), 3703. 12 Cui Z. Nanofabrication: principles, capabilities and limits (2ed), Sprin-ger, USA, 2016. 13 Menard E, Lee K J, Khang D Y, et al. Applied Physics Letters, 2004, 84(26), 5398. 14 Cui Z, Qiu S, Zhou C, et al. Printed electronics: materials, technologies and applications, John Wiley & Sons, USA, 2016. 15 Kamyshny A, Magdassi S. Small, 2014, 10(17), 3515. 16 Yuan W, Wu X, Gu W, et al.Journal of Semiconductors, 2018, 39(1), 015002. 17 Zhong T, Jin N, Yuan W, et al. Materials, 2019, 12(18),3036. 18 Wu X, Shao S, Chen Z, et al. Nanotechnology, 2017, 28(3), 035203. 19 Huang Q, Zhu Y. Advanced Materials Technologies, 2019, 4(5), 1800546. 20 Cui Z,Gao Y. SID Symposium Digest of Technical Papers,2015, 46, 398.