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PyzoFlex® is a patented, affordable, printable sensor technology that can be implemented on an industrial scale. It allows the large-scale and accurate measurement of temperature and pressure changes in objects and their environment as well as energy harvesting.
The core of this technology are fully printed sensors (based on special, ferroelectric polymers), which are fabricated by a cost-effective screen printing method. These films can detect localized pressure and temperature changes as well as vibrations with high precision. Wherever pressure or temperature changes, vibrations or shock waves occur, piezoelectric and pyroelectric transducers can be used to convert mechanical deformation (changes in thickness) and temperature differences into electrical energy.
Ferroelectric polymers belonging to the PVDF-Class (polyvinylidene fluoride) are used as a basic material since they exhibit strong piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties after a poling procedure. These materials are also extremely stable, UV and weather resistant, flame-retardant and have a high chemical durability.
Based on the PyzoFlex® technology, solutions which equip different surfaces with (new or extended) sensory functions can be realized. PyzoFlex® allows for extensive, complex, and novel solutions in connection with a very low overall energy consumption for a wide range of applications: IoT, consumer electronics, security, cyber physical systems, automotive, wearables, smart living and life science, sport, and many more.
The range of applications for such large-scale, low-cost printed sensors, which can be integrated into any curved or textured surface, seems almost unlimited from today’s perspective.
PyzoFlex® sensors could be used in all areas of daily life and industry, whereby in particular:
- Consumer Electronics: Human-Machine-Interfaces, wearables, sport
- Security: job safety, 360° motion detection, biometrics, access control
- Smart city & smart living: user-oriented, efficient technologies for smart buildings/offices
- Ambient & Assisted Living: fall detection
- Collaborative Robotics: artificial skin
- Life sciences: large-scale, medical diagnostics
- Automotive industries: energy harvesting, security
- Vibration Monitoring : for structural health, condition monitoring and Industry 4.0
- Energy harvesting applications for low power devices
EcoTouch: Energy self-sufficient touch-interfaces with PyzoFlex®-technology
Touch-sensitive film elements are integrated into the surfaces of mobile operating units belonging to the company KEBA AG. With these printable large-area sensors based PyzoFlex® technology developed at JOANNEUM RESEARCH, touch is converted into electrical energy due to the piezoelectric effect, localized on the surface of the units and the pressure of the contact is quantified. Thanks to the use of screen printing, such sensors can be fabricated on flexible surfaces in a very cheap way.
In this project novel conductive stretchable nano-composite materials and efficient processes for the fabrication of multifunctional sensor arrays were developed. In-situ synthesis of metallic nanoparticles in elastomeric matrices without the demand for toxic chemicals was investigated. Based on this technology, electro-mechanic organic sensors were applied on stretchable surfaces by means of additive and eco-friendly printing techniques. The high potential of these materials and processes was demonstrated by the fabrication of a sensor-patch which enables the simultaneous detection of ECG parameters.
FLASHED – Flexible Large Area Sensors for Highly Enhanced Displays
In this project a novel user interface device that couples novel input with output was built and a new technology in the field of flexible displays discovered. A major problem of flexible displays is still the lack of interactivity, because none of the market-ready touch solutions are flexible (bendable). Therefore, one major goal of FLASHED was the development of novel, flexible touchscreen solutions, covering aspects like cost-effectiveness (all-printed), sustainability (material recycling and end-of-life disposal) and energy-efficiency (self-sustaining sensor arrays). Moreover, the FLASHED project put strong emphasis on user-friendly interfaces. The FLASHED device itself consists of a flexible display, a touchscreen layer based on a pressure sensing touch array (utilizing ferroelectric polymers).
Textiles equipped with sensor functions have increasing technological and industrial importance (e.g. in the medical and care sectors, and for monitoring vital functions in people participating in competitive and extreme sports). The development of smart textiles presents a technical challenge and demands special consideration for the potentially different requirements of sensor textiles for men and women, elderly and young people. These differences with respect to gender or age have largely been ignored in the past by technology developers, although they are crucial for the applicability and acceptance of products including newly developed technologies. Within this project, the different approaches are connected and brought into the foreground.
The Department focuses on the development of innovative structuring methods enabling large-area fabrication of flexible micro- and nanostructured foils or fully integrated components. The combination of printing (nanoimprint lithography) and structuring (ultra-short pulse laser techniques, electron beam lithography) methods permits the fabrication of innovative sensor systems. In addition, the group works on the development of circuits built of organic transistors and manufactured by innovative processes on flexible substrates, as there are foil, paper, and textile.
- Flexible organic electronics
Cost-effective and energy-efficient manufacturing processes
Environmentally friendly materials
Large area and flexible substrates
Innovative, low resource consumption technologies
Piezoelectric and pyroelectrics sensor technology and energy harvester
Ultramodern assembly and connection technologies for hybrid electronics
- Roll-to-Roll (R2R) printing and mastering
High-precision R2R UV nanoimprint lithography for the micro- and nano-structuring of foil based materials and functional coating systems
Step&Repeat UV nanoimprint system for the manufacture of seamlessly structured (R2R) imprinting stamps
Maskless greyscale laser lithography for the creation
Scientific and technological advice is provided for interdisciplinary solutions across the entire value chain (from the idea to design, simulation, proof of concept, lab testing, experimental setup and prototype).
Cutting edge technologies and methods based on miniaturization, integration and materials optimization are used.
State-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure are offered in order to fulfil the needs of business and industry.
Support companies with innovation projects and helping them to get superior products to market faster (www.actphast.eu/register-your-interest)
MICRO- AND NANOELECTRONICS
Franz Pichler Straße 30 8160 Weiz, AUSTRIA
Phone +43 316 876-3000
Contact: Dr. Dieter Nees