A*STAR IME’S CONSORTIUM TO DEEPEN CAPABILITIES IN MEMS TECHNOLOGIES FOR INDUSTRIAL INTERNET OF THINGS, AUTOMOTIVE, AND INDOOR NAVIGATION APPLICATIONS
A*STAR IME’s collaborative partnership with industry will enable the development of cutting-edge industrial-grade sensors to heighten performance and achieve cost-effectiveness for MEMS devices
By Tom Kevan, Desktop Engineering
It all started with smartphones and airbags. Design engineers began to integrate sensors in growing numbers into such systems to enable smarter performance. These applications mark the prelude to what Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, describes as a “sensory swarm” — a flood of heterogeneous sensors interfacing the cyber and physical worlds. By 2025, experts predict that the swarm could number as many as 7 trillion devices.
One of the first stages in the realization of this sensor-dominated world, the Internet of Things (IoT) requires technologies that can take on smaller form factors and operate on miserly power budgets. In their search to find sensing devices that can meet these requirements, designers have turned to micro-electromechanical systems, or MEMS. Before they can take full advantage of the miniaturization the technology offers and expand its role in the marketplace, engineers must be able to bridge the gaps between the MEMS, analog and digital design worlds. To do this, they will require a new set of tools.
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Konica Minolta IJ Technologies, Inc. (Konica Minolta) is pleased to announce that it has successfully developed a high-accuracy inkjet head capable of 1-picoliter drop size, the first for printed electronics applications by utilizing Konica Minolta’s proprietary MEMS technologies for the first time. Sale of the new inkjet printhead in sample quantities is expected to start this spring.
Newly developed Inkjet Printhead KM128SNG-MB
The newly developed inkjet printhead “KM128SNG-MB” is a next-generation inkjet printhead manufactured with silicon MEMS technologies that utilizes semiconductor process technologies. Through MEMS technologies, Konica Minolta succeeded in developing highly accurate printhead construction (38mm width, in one row, 128 nozzles) capable of discharging in micro drop size. The company’s proprietary technologies in ink flow path design and high-precision assembly processes have achieved layout of tiny-size droplet highly precisely and stably. Furthermore, the new inkjet printhead is highly resistant to various inks required for industrial applications and suitable to use with low-viscosity inks. Utilization of MEMS technologies has helped integration of nozzles and resulted in benefits such as compact inkjet printhead. In line with requests from the market in the future, further integration of nozzles will be an area of enhancement for time to come. Specific applications for the newly developed inkjet printhead will include, among others, OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display patterning, OLED lighting thin-layer coating, and new manufacturing technologies for high-value-added displays for smartphones and similar devices that require high accuracy.
Printed electronics market, including next-generation flexible displays, is expected to grow to approximately two-trillion yen in 2020 (research by Konica Minolta), where utilization of the newly developed inkjet printhead is highly expected. Konica Minolta is a founding member of Japan Advanced Printed Electronics Technology Research Association (JAPERA) that was formed in 2011. Through its innovative inkjet technologies for industrial use, Konica Minolta has been contributing to the research and development activities for next-generation printed electronics technologies with even more energy-saving, resource-saving and highly productive features in the near future.
Under its communication message “Giving Shape to Ideas,” Konica Minolta has been developing and manufacturing inkjet products, such as inkjet printhead, textile printers and high-value-added inks, with superb performance and enhanced values for industrial applications, by utilizing its proprietary precision processing technologies and material technologies that underlie its products’ advantages in saving energy and resources. With the newly developed inkjet printhead, the company will continue to contribute to further expansion of applications with industrial-use inkjet technologies and growth of the market.
Major Features of the Newly Designed KM128SNG-MB Printhead
- Utilizes silicon MEMS technology used in semiconductor processing
- First printhead for printed electronics applications to achieve a 1 picoliter drop size
- High-accuracy printhead structure: 38mm wide; 128 nozzles in one row
- Stable, highly accurate operation with accuracy drive control on a per-nozzle basis
- High ink resistance and optimization for low viscosity inks for industrial applications
- Provides highly uniform thin layer coating (at the 100nm level)
- Optimized for display manufacturing technology, such as for OLED displays
- Proprietary DPN (Drive Per Nozzle) drive board and evaluation equipment available
|Number of nozzles
||128 (in one row)
||67mm (W) x 40mm (D) x 70mm (H)
||1 – 5 mPa·s
OLED display patterning, OLED lighting thin-layer coating, new manufacturing technologies for high-accuracy, high-value-added displays for smartphones and similar devices
For information about Konica Minolta’s inkjet printheads, please visit:Konica Minolta Inkjet Print Head.
Coventor recently participated in the COMS 2011, event, which was held right in our ‘backyard’ of Greensboro, North Carolina. COMS, which stands for Commercialization of Micro-Nano Systems, is an annual conference hosted by MANCEF (Micro and Nanotechnology Commercialization Education Foundation). It draws experts and researchers from around the world, and this year there were 278 registered attendees from 17 countries.