Swedish Research Laboratory for Printed Electronics
SRLPE is the leading resource for research and development into printed electronics in Sweden. Our objective is to serve as a natural point of contact for materials and process development within printed electronics and to function as a catalyst for research within the field. We aim to create an attractive technological and collaborative platform, which will enable simpler implementation and faster public acceptance. A strong SRLPE will guarantee advancements within materials research, chemistry, physics, processing techniques, systems integration, and design.
Rapidly Growing Research Area
Printed electronics is one of the world’s fastest growing research areas and encompasses expertise within materials research, chemistry, electronics, printing processes and design. The Scandinavian countries have had considerable success through leading and defining research direction in this field, partly owing to our interdisciplinary research and robust local industries for electronics, biotechnology, packaging, printing and paper manufacture.
A multitude of similar ventures have been undertaken internationally since the 1990s, often focusing on the development of displays and light sources. Some examples of these ventures include UCSB and DuPont Displays in Santa Barbara, USA, Cambridge Displays Technology in Cambridge, UK, Technische Universität Dresden and Novaled in Dresden, Germany, and Korean Printed Electronics Association (KoPEA) in South Korea. Recently, even more substantial ventures have been established focusing on electronic sensors, batteries, signal processes, and reflective displays at, for example, Printed Intelligence, VTT and Oulu University in Oulu, Finland, and at Holst Center, IMEC and TNO in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Printed bioelectronics constitutes a brand-new field in which Linköping University and SRLPE are already making a name for themselves internationally. The Department of Bioelectronics in Gardanne, France is an example of another initiative within the area.
Extensive efforts are being undertaken in Sweden within printed electronics and bioelectronics. Within the framework for iPack Vinnväxt Center at KTH, several projects are in progress focusing on smart packaging and IoT. At Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall, numerous projects are under way geared towards the development of printed sensors and memory. At Linköping University, Karlstad University and Chalmers University of Technology, various teams and industries are collaborating in order to create printed solar cells on flexible substrates. KI, RISE Acreo and Linköping University are working together to develop bioelectronics within the framework of the OBOE centre. In Borås, considerable investments are being made into Smart Textiles, which furnishes textiles and clothing with functions by means of printed electronics and conductive polymers in textile fibres. Innventia (Wallenberg Wood Science Center) has led the development of nanocellulose in order to create electrical or sensory functionality on surfaces, cardboard and paper. And Umeå University has worked with printed light sources known as Light-emitting Electrochemical Cells (LEEC).
The most comprehensive venture in Sweden is being undertaken at Campus Norrköping, and is being jointly run by Linköping University and RISE Acreo. Several research centres and initiatives have coalesced here at PEA (Printed Electronics Arena), wherein a diverse array of projects is being run. Power Papers (KAW), OPEN (SSF), PEA-PPP (Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth) and OBOE (SSF and VINNOVA) are examples of such projects. PEA actually comprises two parts – PEA the project and PEA-M, which is the actual production environment. This production environment can be seen as a greenhouse for printed electronics and is located amidst the historical landscape in Norrköping.
The Backbone of Swedish Ventures in Printed Electronics
Thanks to several financing initiatives from the Swedish Research Council, Norrköping Municipality, Vinnova and Swedish industry, a small production environment has been established. Owing to rapid growth and the fact that complexity in the area is increasing steadily, PEA-M’s capacity serves as a convergence point for research conducted at PEA and in Sweden as a whole, and for this reason SRLPE was created. Moreover, a number of companies and spin-outs – such as Thin Film Electronics, Webshape, Paper Displays, Invisense, DP Patterning – are all dependent on having a local resource for their research and development.
“Cutting-edge research attracts leading researchers, generates industrial interest and commercial opportunities”. This is the current motto for research within Printed Electronics at Linköping University and, just in the last five years, two research teams investigating organic electronics (Berggren and Crispin) have published upwards of 10 papers in scientific journals such as Nature, PNAS, Angewandte Chemie, and JACS. A common denominator for successful research centres across the globe is access to high-quality laboratory resources. In combination, SRLPE, PEA-M, and Linköping University create an environment in which unique collaborations can produce cutting-edge research, technologies and applications.