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IDTechEx: Printed electronics award winners

Thermoelectric energy generation, synthesis of metallic nanoparticles, metal mashes for TCF and an image sensor won awards

GERMANY The annual IDTechEx awards were announced at the Printed Electronics European 2014 conference in Berlin.

The entries were judged by Professor Dr.-Ing. Gunter Hübner from Hochschule der Medien Germay, Professor Iain McCulloch from Imperial College, UK and Professor Gyoujin Cho from Sunchon National University, Korea.

The Academic R&D Award went to Fraunhofer IFAM. The Best Technical Development Materials Award went to VTT. The Best Technical Development Manufacturing Award (Sponsored by NovaCentrix) went to Suzhou institute of Nanotech. The Best Product Development Award went to ISORG / PLASTIC LOGIC. Finally the Best Commercialization Award went to BlueSpark / Iontera. Following is a description of the winning products:

Fully Inkjet-printed TEG structure on ceramic substrate
Fully Inkjet-printed TEG structure on ceramic substrate
Source:Source: Fraunhofer IFAM

Academic R&D Award – Fraunhofer IFAM
Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) won this award for the development of a thermoelectric energy generation (TEG) device manufactured by digital printing. Thermoelectric devices harvest energy from heat gradients which can be used to power devices such sensor networks and electric microsystems. Printing them enables simpler production with a path to high volume manufacturing.  Using a self-prepared Copper, Nickel and Magnesium alloy ink and a commercial silver ink TEG structures were deposited at Fraunhofer IFAM on different surfaces using printing technologies. A fully inkjet-printed TEG on a ceramic substrate is shown in the figure.
The temperature gradient of ΔT = 100 K results in a converted electrical voltage of U ≈ 80 mV and a current of I ≈ 60 nA, respectively. Due to the fact, that the resulting power is relatively low and only sufficient for the operation of ultra-low-power applications, further investigations will enhance structural thickness to reduce the TEG overall electrical resistance. Furthermore thermoelectric power will be increased by using nano-composite materials showing high electrical conductivity in coexistence with low thermal conductivity. These materials promise high ZT-values and can also be adapted to digital printing techniques. Nevertheless the fully printed TEGs allow an application on almost any surface combined with a resource efficient production due to usage of printing technologies and an environmental friendly use of thermoelectric polymers and composites.

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Andreas Keller

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