Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Think Big! Thin-Film Electronics for Large-Scale Hybrid Systems

Warren Rieutort-Louis
Engineering Quadrangle J323
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 9:00am to 11:30am

Large-Area Electronics offers the potential for physically large, mechanically flexible, inexpensive sensing systems enabling interfaces on the human-scale. Though computational devices such as thin-film transistors (TFTs) can also be built using this technology, their low electrical performance tends to preclude their use in creating full sensing systems that also incorporate instrumentation, communication or power-management. We suggest an approach that combines large-area electronics with conventional, high-performance, silicon integrated circuits in order to realize complete system demonstrations.
The key challenge in these \textit{hybrid systems}, however, lies in the ability to scalably interface the two technologies: thin-film large-area electronics and CMOS integrated circuits. In this thesis we explore a wide range of thin-film circuits and architectures to achieve this, namely circuits for non-contact powering from thin-film energy harvesting and storage devices, circuits for communication in the form of the first thin-film radio on plastic, circuits for interfacing wirelessly between large numbers of sensors and ICs and circuits for reducing interfaces through embedded variation-tolerant thin-film computation. These functionality blocks are presented as components of, for example, full systems for strain-sensing or image classification from image sensors. The limitations of thin-film electronics in terms of DC/AC electrical performance and noise is also carefully studied, with optimizations suggested, throughout this thesis, from the materials up to the systems level.