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Plastic Deformation of Thin Foil Substrates with Amorphous Silicon Islands into Spherical Shapes

  • Pai-hui I. Hsu (a1), Min Huang (a1), Sigurd Wagner (a1), Zhigang Suo (a1) and J. C. Sturm (a1)...


There is a growing interest in the application of large area electronics on curved surfaces. One approach towards realizing this goal is to fabricate circuits on planar substrates of thin plastic or metal foil, which are subsequently deformed into arbitrary shapes. The problem that we consider here is the deformation of substrates into a spherical shape, where the strain is determined by geometry and cannot be reduced by simply using a thinner substrate. The goal is to achieve permanent, plastic deformation in the substrates, without exceeding fracture or buckling limits in the device materials.

Our experiments consist of the planar fabrication of amorphous silicon device structures onto stainless steel or Kapton® polyimide substrates, followed by permanent deformation into a spherical shape. We will present empirical experiments showing the dependence of the results on the island/line size of the device materials and the deformation temperature. We have successfully deformed Kapton® polyimide substrates with 100 [.proportional]m wide amorphous silicon islands into a one steradian spherical cap, which subtends 66 degrees, without degradation of the silicon. This work demonstrates the feasibility of building semiconductor devices on plastically deformed substrates despite a 5% average biaxial strain in the substrate after deformation.



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1. Ma, E. Y., Theiss, S. D., Lu, M. H., Wu, C. C., Sturm, J. C., and Wagner, S., Thin Film Transistors For Foldable Displays, Tech. Dig. Int. Electron Devices Meet., p. 535538 (1997).
2. Gleskova, H. and Wagner, S., Failure Resistance of Amorphous Silicon Transistors Under Extreme In-plane Strain, Appl. Phys. Lett., 75, 3011 (1999).
3. Callister, W. D. JR., Materials Science and Engineering: An introduction, 4th ed.(John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1997), p. 401.
4. ABAQUS, Version 5.8, Hibbitt, Karlsson & Sorensen, Inc., Rhode Island, 1999.


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