Analog/Mixed Signal

New circuit design could lead to ultralight, flexible electronics for wearables

05 August 2020

Researchers from the University of Surrey, the University of Cambridge and the National Research Institute in Rome have developed a new circuit design that could usher in a new era of ultralightweight, flexible electronics for wearables and sensors.

Researchers believe the technology could transform manufacturing processes using a circuit and a device called the source-gated transistor (SGT) to create compact circuit blocks. The research showed that two SGTs can achieve the same functionality as it would normally take from devices that use about 12 thin-film transistors (TFT).

This would improve the performance of the devices, reduce waste and make the manufacturing process more affordable, the team said.

"We are entering what may be another golden age of electronics, with the arrival of 5G and IoT enabled devices,” said Radu Sporea, a professor at the University of Surrey. “However, the way we have manufactured many of our electronics has increasingly become overcomplicated and has hindered the performance of many devices.”

Sporea said SGT is a simpler build process than regular TFTs and the transistor circuits are cheaper to manufacture on a large scale, leading to less waste in the form of rejected components. Large area electronics could result in future phones, fitness trackers or smart sensors that are thinner and far more flexible than ones produced today.

The full research can be found in the journal IEEE Xplore.

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