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Panasonic develops stretchable substrate for printed electronics

Panasonic has introduced a new thermoset stretchable film for printed electronics. BEYOLEX is a innovative material that's based on a proprietary non-silicone thermoset polymer chemistry developed by Panasonic researchers at the Electronic Materials laboratory in Kadoma, Osaka, Japan.

The film features softness, conformability, high temperature resistance, and ultra-low permanent deformation after stretching. It is 100 microns in thickness, delivered on a high temperature Polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) carrier for mechanical stability during processing and a thin Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or polyester) coversheet for protection.

The high surface energy of the BEYOLEX substrate makes it compatible with a wide variety of functional inks and pastes, including screen-printed stretchable silver composite pastes; sintered metal pastes; and liquid metals like eutectic Indium Gallium alloys.

As a result, these properties make the substrate suitable for many end-use applications including, but not limited to, health/wellness, automotive, sensors, haptics, Internet of Things (IoT), gaming, augmented reality (AR), soft robotics and aerospace.

"This novel non-silicone polymer resin system exhibits amazing properties when made into a film," said Takatoshi Abe, Research Manager, Panasonic Electronic Materials Division and Co-inventor of BEYOLEX technology. "We think this technology - which our team developed, patented, and commercialised - can be the foundation for many new innovative products that will improve people's lives."

Traditional printed electronic substrates like polyester and polyimide films are not pliable, stretchable, or soft, while silicone-based films can be incompatible with standard electronic materials and processes. Thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) are commonly used as a substrate for pliable printed electronics, but these films have low temperature resistance and can be prone to permanent deformation after being strained.

"We view electronic materials based on this polymer technology as enabling an entire new class of soft and pliable electronic devices," said Andy Behr, Technology Manager, Panasonic Electronic Materials.

Author
Neil Tyler

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