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Organic microprocessor on plastic foil debuts

Posted: 25 Apr 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:organic  microprocessor  thin-film  transistor 

Imec, Holst Centre, and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven report the first functional 8bit microprocessor made in organic thin-film transistors processed directly (i.e. without transfer) onto flexible plastic foil. This technology will pave the way to organic microprocessors in niche applications in which low-cost computing power is required, for example in smart packaging.

The organic 8bit microprocessor features some 4,000 transistors with complex control logic and variable datapaths. It uses a robust dual-gate organic thin-film transistor (TFT) architecture with a back-gate on the transistors to control the threshold voltage (VT).

The complete microprocessor is composed of two 25µm thin foils that are connected 1-to-1, a microprocessor foil with 3,381 transistors (1.96x1.72cm2), and an instruction code foil comprising 612 transistors (0.72x0.64cm2). This combination allows the implementation of basic digital signal processing on foil, namely a running averager. When a stream of 6bit digital inputs is provided, the running averager computes the weighed time-average of the input, which allows it to increase the accuracy (to 7bit) by filtering random noise. The microprocessor foil operates on supply voltages (VDD) between 10 and 20V at a clock frequency up to 6Hz. The power consumption of the microprocessor is typically 92µW at 10V supply voltage.

This work was performed in collaboration with Polymer Vision, one of the partners in the Holst Centre research programmes, and was partially supported by the EU-Project COSMIC (IST-IP-247681).

 Organic microprocessor

Figure 1: Organic microprocessor: 8bit organic microprocessor on foil.

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