Integrated sensor system development at ORNL focuses on integrating elements of functional sensors on low-cost substrates, multi-parameter detection, data processing, wireless communication, and energy harvesting. Key to this effort is advanced materials R&D, from the development of new materials to innovations in materials processing, such as low temperature material processing and printing technologies.
While printed electronics are a relatively mature technology, the emerging industry of large area manufacturing and organic electronics is bringing about new opportunities for the realization of sensors on unconventional substrates. The benefit of printing devices on flexible substrates include their potential to be light weight, foldable/rollable, thin and conformal, and manufacturable by roll-to-roll processes. Diverse materials and process technologies are being exploited to develop a novel multifunctional sensor platform that will evolve with advances in materials technology, low-cost printing techniques, and co-integration of monitoring, control, and communication circuitry. Smart sensor systems combined with micro-sensor technology enable the capabilities to make units that are small, smart, and multifunctional. These advancements in printed electronics by direct writing techniques show promise for use in a wide range of active and passive device applications, such as thin film transistors, OLED lighting, solar cells, RFIDs, antennas, inductors, capacitors, interconnects, sensors, and displays.
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