iPESS – Integration of Printed Electronics with Silicon for Smart Sensor Systems

Low cost smart integrated sensors are an important element of key current technology trends, e.g. the Internet of Things, wearable electronics, personal health monitoring, ‘Smart buildings’, and many others. Realising this potential requires low-cost integration of accurate and reliable sensors with full internet connectivity into mechanically flexible environments. Although the use of conventional silicon electronics is required for complex processing tasks, such as communications, the integration of printed electronics for elements, including signal amplification and multiplexing, could enable new form factors to be realised and lower cost systems. iPESS was a system integration project aiming to develop the key building blocks for a hybrid printed electronics/silicon based sensor system in the form of a smart label integrated on a plastic substrate.

Project Objectives

  • demonstrate an array of printed field-effect transistor (FET) sensors with high chemical specificity, initially for gas sensing applications
  • demonstrate a printed electronics analogue front end that provides adequate signal amplification and signal conditioning for the sensor signal to be recorded by a silicon microcontroller

Key Achievements

  • demonstrated an OFET sensor array, solution processed on flexible plastic substrates, that operates at <3V and is capable of detecting volatile organic compounds and sub-ppm levels of ammonia under ambient conditions of oxygen and water
  • demonstrated an integration process for low-voltage complementary circuits and successfully realised complementary differential amplifiers

Following this successful first phase, the iPESS project has entered a second phase which will develop a system integration approach based on the developed sensor and analogue amplifier technology. iPESS2 will be engaging with industrial partners to realise integrated sensor systems for a range of applications, including gas safety, food/crop monitoring as well as healthcare. Follow the iPESS2 page for details of progress, partners and how you can get involved.

Further details about iPESS

Meet some of the researchers

Posted in Past Projects.