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a-Si:H Thin Film Transistors on Rollable 25-μM Thick Steel Foil

  • E.Y. Ma (a1) and S. Wagner (a1)

Abstract

We report the first amorphous silicon thin film transistors (TFTs) on flexible, ultra-thin substrates of 25 μm thick stainless steel foil. The transistors remain operational under convex or concave bending down to 2.5 mm radius of curvature. Taking advantage of the flexibility and resiliency of these devices, we have successfully fabricated TFTs using only xerographic toner masks printed directly on to the steel substrate and using mechanical alignment in the laser printer to obtain the necessary overlay accuracy. The goal of our work is to develop a foldable active-matrix transistor backplane, at low cost and high throughput, for use in highly rugged and portable applications such as foldable intelligent maps. Our results suggest that such foldable backplane circuits are feasible.

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[1] Gleskova, H., Wagner, S. and Suo, Z., “a-Si:H TFTs Made on Polyimide Foil by PE-CVD at 150 °C,” MRS Spring 1998 Symposium B, to be published.
[2] Gere, J.M. and Timoshenko, S.P., Mechanics of Materials, PWS-Kent Publ. Co., Boston, 1990, p. 252.
[3] Wu, C.C., Theiss, S., Lu, M.H., Sturm, J.C. and Wagner, S., “Integration of Organic LEDs and Amorphous Silicon TFTs onto Unbreakable Metal Foil Substrates,” Tech. Digest International Electron Devices Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Dec, 8-11, 1996, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, 1996, Paper 30.8.1, pp. 957959.
[4] Wu, C.C., Theiss, S.D., Gu, G., Lu, M.H., Sturm, J.C., Wagner, S. and Forrest, S.R., “Organic LEDs Integrated with a-Si TFTs on Lightweight Metal Substrates,” SID Tech. Dig., vol. 28, May 1997, pp. 6770.
[5] Theiss, S.D. and Wagner, S., “Flexible Lightweight Steel-Foil Substrates for Amorphous Silicon Thin-Film Transistors,” AM-LCD '96 Tech. Dig., 1996, pp. 365368.
[6] Gleskova, H., Könenkamp, R., Wagner, S. and Shen, D., “Electrophotographically Patterned Thin-Film Silicon Transistors,” Electron Device Letters, vol 17, No. 6, 1996, pp. 264266.

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