HONG KONG /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Thin Film Electronics ASA, a provider of advanced printed memory technology, and Palo Alto Research Center Inc. (PARC), a premier center for commercial innovation, announced that they are working together to provide next-generation memory technology, enabled through printed electronics.
An essential element of most electronics devices, memory is required for identification, tracking status and history, information storage, and more. Thinfilm is commercializing fully printed, rewritable memory for application in specific markets—including toys and games—and is developing contact-based memory arrays for higher-capacity applications. Combining Thinfilm's memory products with PARC's printed thin-film transistor technology will allow the development of integrated systems as part of Thinfilm's product roadmap.
IDTechEx expects the printed electronics market to grow to more than $50 billion over the next 10 years, with logic (memory and transistors) representing the largest segment.
Using printing to manufacture electronic memory minimizes the number of process steps, which in turn dramatically reduces manufacturing costs and lowers the environmental impactm, compared with traditional semiconductor processes. Target markets for Thinfilm memory products include RFID tags, sensor tags, disposable price labels, and more:
- In the next 12 to 18 months—As retailers and governments drive the boom in RFID tags for products, transit ticketing, and ID tagging, they will be fueling the demand for low-cost tags. "Item-level tagging is the largest single market application for what Thinfilm memory and PARC can bring to the table together here," commented Thinfilm CEO Davor Sutija.
- In the near term—Further fueling growth in this market, NFC-enabled phones will soon put RFID readers directly in millions of people's pockets, purses, and backpacks. Meanwhile, major companies are targeting RF for location tags, advertising, smart packaging, and other consumer-based applications.
- In coming years—The numbers of printed and chipless RFID tags sold globally are expected to rapidly gain market share, predicted to rise from $12 million in 2011 to $209 billion in 2021 (IDTechEx).
Thinfilm and PARC are working together to address these market opportunities for memory, especially given their complimentary strengths. A leader in printed and novel electronics, PARC specializes in designing full-featured systems, customized for clients' desired applications. Such systems will benefit from Thinfilm's unique nonvolatile ferroelectric polymer memory technology because power consumption is negligible and no connection to external power is required to retain information.
"By working closely with PARC to couple our memory products with their transistor technology and printed electronics capabilities, we will enable compact, 128-bit, fully printed memory systems," said Sutija. "Several of the world's large toy manufacturers are already designing concepts, including this type of memory, because of its unique design, form factor, and cost advantages. In addition to our products for card-based games and toys, we are adding resources to support the development of printed ID and sensor tags."
"PARC has worked on printed electronics materials, components, devices, and full systems. We are now working with Thinfilm to deliver the results of these efforts for applications requiring data storage and memory," commented PARC scientist Dr. Ana Claudia Arias. "We've been working to enhance the performance and reliability of printed electronics for quite some time now, and look forward to seeing this work in commercial products."
"We are pleased about this relationship with Thinfilm because of the strong alignment in our roadmaps for the future of flexible electronics," commented PARC CEO Mark Bernstein. "When you consider the trajectory of emerging technologies, printed electronics is just coming down from its hype cycle and entering the realization phase... so now is the time for companies to look seriously at what's possible in this burgeoning market."
A premier center for commercial innovation, Palo Alto Research Center Inc. (PARC), a Xerox company, is in the business of breakthroughs. It works closely with global enterprises, entrepreneurs, government agencies and partners, and other clients to invent, co-develop, and bring to market game-changing innovations by combining imagination, investigation, and return on investment for our clients. For 40 years, it has lived at the leading edge of innovation, merging inquiry and strategy to pioneer technological change. PARC was incorporated in 2002 as a wholly owned independent subsidiary of Xerox Corp., enabling us to continue pioneering technological change but across a broader set of industries and clients today.
Thin Film Electronics ASA is a publicly listed Norwegian technology company, with its head office in Oslo and product development in Linköping, Sweden. Thinfilm is a pioneer in the field of printed electronics and provides fully printed nonvolatile, rewritable memory for applications in toys and games, logistics, sensors, and ID systems.