Graduate student awarded for work in large-area electronics

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019
by Scott Lyon

Graduate student Yoni Mehlman has won best student paper from the 2019 Device Research Conference, recognizing his work in flexible electronics.

The paper outlined research by Mehlman and fellow graduate student Can Wu, who together greatly improved an electronic circuit for use in applications like the wallpaper and flooring used in smart homes. These specialized electronics, known as thin film circuits due to the nanoscopic layering technique used to make them, are built directly onto glass or flexible plastics and can be distributed over large areas, enabling advanced sensing and wireless communication technology to be integrated into common objects. The new circuit performs around 100 times better than existing circuits of its kind.

"The work described their path towards record speed performance in thin film circuits," said James Sturm, Stephen R. Forrest Professor of Electrical Engineering and adviser to both Mehlman and Wu.

The key to their enhancement comes in the design of the component known as an oscillator, responsible for creating the frequency of wireless electronic signals. Reaching very high frequencies with cheap materials that can be deployed over large physical areas has proven difficult for engineers working in thin film circuits. The innovation could be a step toward pinpoint accuracy in the transmission and reception of wireless data.

Mehlman and Wu are also advised by Naveen Verma, professor of electrical engineering, and Sigurd Wagner, professor of electrical engineering, emeritus. The research was supported by the Princeton Program in Plasma Science and Technology, the Semiconductor Research Corporation, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Additional support was provided by the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials.