Printed Electronics Research at UMass Lowell


RE: PERC Long Video Transcript Speaker 1: The University of Massachusetts
Lowell, through a newly established research center based on strategic corporate partnerships
is advancing the state of the art in printed electronics design, fabrication, and characterization
technologies. Prof. Craig Armiento: What’s unique about
this facility is that on one floor we have everything we need to create rapid prototypes
of electronic systems and devices. We have a full complement of advanced design
and simulation tools. We have a large variety of different types
of printing technologies and the ability to test and characterize. Test the devices and substances we make, as
well as characterize the new materials that we make. So, everything we need is on this floor. The students are trained to do every aspect
of that. Carolyn Reistad: I designed the strip lines
in HFSS on Monday. I drew up the CAD designs later that evening
and by Tuesday, I was printing my designs, curing it, and Wednesday I was making measurements. Prof. Craig Armiento: They do design, they
do fabrication for printing. They do testing. Ehsan Hajisaeid: I have been leading the effort
in characterization of electromagnetic properties of the substrate. I have been working in this interdisciplinary
team for printed electronics for the last two years. Prof. Craig Armiento: And so, we’re really
capable of creating very rapid prototypes in days without having to farm out some of
the word. Carolyn Reistad: It’s fast here because everything
you need is on the same floor. You can have one person work on a single design
instead of trying to work in between different companies, different groups within a company
and sometimes a lot of that can slow down the fabrication process. Prof. Craig Armiento: Being on a university
campus, we are able to tap into the resources and expertise across the campus. We have a plastics engineering department
here, for instance. Our substrates are often plastic and it’s
very helpful to have the polymer scientists and the plastics engineering available to
us. Prof. Alkim Akyurtlu: This close relationship
with the plastics engineering department faculty has led to a federal grant that is for almost
two million dollars for developing the next generation of flexible substrates or printed
electronics with properties that are tailor made for our needs. Prof. Craig Armiento: So, being on campus
gives us access to a wide variety of expertise that you wouldn’t find resident in a company. Speaker 5: What kind of dialectric constant-
Prof. Craig Armiento: We’re doing our research in an environment where we have a corporate
partner. Dr. Mary Herndon: Raytheon and UMass Lowell
established RURI so that we could advance our capabilities for rapid prototyping and
printed electronics. Prof. Craig Armiento: The Raytheon UMass Lowell
Research Institute was formed in partnership with Raytheon where Raytheon engineers and
scientists are co-located with us here in this campus and work very closely with faculty,
staff, and students. Elicia Harper: One great thing about my internship
this past summer is I was able to work with some Raytheon employees and get their expertise. Dr. Mary Herndon: By working with RURI and
the students here, we are growing that pipeline by giving the students exposure to the new
technologies and capabilities that Raytheon is ultimately going to need. Elicia Harper: Because my project is a Raytheon
funded IRAD project, I was able to go to their facility and work with some people who had
more familiarity with this area. Prof. Craig Armiento: Companies like Raytheon
are a system integrator. They don’t make printing equipment, they don’t
make materials. We’re working with PERC to expand our corporate
relationships and partnerships with companies that do make equipment, do make ink. Dr. Joseph Kunze: It’s a good partnering opportunity,
we get access to equipment and research that as a small business we don’t get access to
ourselves. So, that helps keep us knowledgeable of what’s
out there coming down the pike in terms of new technology. We’ve hired a number of co-op students through
the years and I actually brought several of those on as full-time employees. Prof. Craig Armiento: PERC was started to
expand our corporate footprint to more companies to build out the supply chain or the ecosystem
for print electronics. Dr. Mary Herndon: With PERC, Raytheon and
other companies get the benefit of working at UMass Lowell in a pre-competitive space
where we can all work together to help develop the supply chain and capabilities for printed
RF electronics. Prof. Craig Armiento: In a nutshell, PERC
provides leverage for a lot of companies to expand their capabilities so in a sense, we
are building the ecosystem in print electronics. Dr. Joseph Kunze: We’ve partnered with PERC
on several projects with federal government, Department of Defense work. Work with the Office of Naval Research on
printing of a phased array. Prof. Craig Armiento: We have a large number
of federally funded projects with our PERC partners that allow them to compete in this
area even though they don’t have all of the capabilities internally. Prof. Alkim Akyurtlu: One of our most successful
projects to date was the result of Raytheon’s need for a fully printed, tunable, flexible
electromagnetic filter or a frequency selective surface. We developed a brand new ferro-electric ink,
which allowed us to obtain the tunability by integrating it into a fully printable varactor. This ferro-electric ink has led to several
awards including one from IDTechEx for R and D, as well as another R and D award from FlexTech. Speaker 9: One of the inks that we-
Prof. Craig Armiento: Potential students should consider this as an opportunity to be working
in a fully integrated, fully functional facility with mentorships by not just the faculty,
but also by engineers and scientists and our corporate partners. I think this provides a much richer research
environment than many other types of lab facilities across the country
Kyle Homan: I made this machine because we needed a custom piece of equipment that could
process this nano composite plastic. A lot of the commercial off the shelf machines
didn’t actually allow for plating and printing, so with this equipment where we can do two
different materials at once, we can print this electrically conductive polymer with
a non-conductive polymer. Dr. Mahdi Haghzadeh: When I started my graduate
studies, the project were so interesting, successful, and rewarding that I stayed on
until I finished my PhD program. Elicia Harper: I went directly into my research
as soon as I graduated with my bachelor’s degree and went into my master’s degree because
I knew that was the path I wanted to move forward with, with this research group. Dr. Mahdi Haghzadeh: What I like the most
about this place were great professors, good students, great facility, lots of equipment
and research that were funded by big companies interested in cutting edge research. Prof. Craig Armiento: Our students interact
with people of all different disciplines every day. We’ve had over a hundred companies visit us
in the last year and a half and our students interact with all those companies. Carolyn Reistad: I’ve had the opportunity
to work with many distinguished people in industry, most notably Creative Materials,
Raytheon, Rogers, and all of those companies have worked with us here at RURI and PERC
to develop our prototypes. Elicia Harper: One of the benefits to meeting
all of these different companies is networking. I mean, it could help you get a job in the
future for sure. This is a great place to be and gives you
a lot of good opportunities. Dr. Mahdi Haghzadeh: Working here allowed
me to meet a lot of people from different companies and one of those companies offered
me a job once I finish my program. Prof. Craig Armiento: We’re very excited about
what we’ve set up here. We’re now a fully capable facility, well thought
of, good reputation in the field. We are going to be working on advancing this
technology. I believe we will have an impact on the future
of electronics in form factors that are different than where we are today. They’ll be electronics embedded in medical
devices, cell phone technology, so called 5G. Cell phones are going to require 30 gigahertz
operation built into a small form factor. That’s where we excel, so we’re excited about
our ability to impact the electronics industry and provide a different means for people to
interact with electronics in a way that we don’t currently.

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