Thinfilm addressable memory design completed

The design of the world’s first printed rewritable memory array with logic circuitry is ready.

ThinfilmThin Film Electronics ASA (“Thinfilm”) together with PARC, a Xerox Company, have completed the design of a 128 bit Thinfilm Addressable Memory™.

This is an important step towards creating compact higher-density printed memories for new markets and applications, including integration with other printed elements, such as sensors, power sources, and antennas,” says Davor Sutija, Thinfilm CEO.

The design combines Thinfilm’s memory technology with transistor technology developed by PARC, and includes CMOS circuitry to significantly reduce the number of contact pads necessary to control the Thinfilm MemoryTM.

Thinfilm’s current product is a contact-based 20 bit memory and memory controller for advanced interactive toys and games.

Addressable Thinfilm Memory products will allow integration to create fully printed systems, such as ID tags, sensor tags, and disposable price labels.

There are significant horizontal markets, markets that meets the needs of a wide variety of industries, waiting for this technology to be ready,” says Sutija, and mentions the rapidly growing adoption of item-level RFID tagging in the retail industry, and the launch of NFC-enabled phones able to read RF tags.

“A large wave in consumer applications involving mobile communication with embedded electronic tags is soon here,” continues Sutija.

Memory is a key component in electronics. “We have a unique position in printed electronics with our low-power rewritable memory that meets the standards and cost-targets of this new industry,” says Sutija.

Thinfilm and PARC announced in October that they are working to provide next-generation memory tags using printed electronics, and is now developing prototypes of the addressable memory. These prototypes will be ready later this year. Transfer to production is expected in 2012.

Thinfilm is a pioneer in the field of Printed Electronics, and provides fully-printed non-volatile, rewritable memory for applications in toys & games, logistics, sensor, and ID systems.

The Printed Electronics market is expected to grow to more than USD 50 billion in market value over the next ten years, according to industry analyst group IDTechEx. IDTechEx predicts that logic, including addressable memory, will be the largest segment in this market.

Using printing to manufacture electronic memory makes it possible to reduce the number of process steps, dramatically reduce manufacturing costs, as well as the environmental impact as compared to traditional semiconductor processes. Commercial applications of printed electronics include e-paper, electronic readers, and organic light emitting (OLED) displays. Sensors, batteries, and photovoltaic energy sources are also in development, and together with Thinfilm’s memory technology they will open the door to new products and applications.

Memory is an essential part of most electronics. Memory is required for identification, tracking status and history, and is used whenever information is stored. Thinfilm’s non-volatile ferroelectric polymer memory technology is well suited for application with other printed electronics devices because power consumption during read and write is negligible, and as it is permanent, no connection to external power is required for data detainment. Also, the current required to write information is so small that operation would be limited by the battery’s lifetime and not its capacity.

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