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NSF Workshop on Papertronics: Paper-based Electronics for the 21st Century

September 12-14, 2016, Westin Arlington Gateway (801 N Glebe Rd Arlington, VA 22203)


This workshop will bring together research leaders in academia and government labs, along with those in small and large businesses, to discuss the state of the art and potential future directions in paper-based electronics. A goal of the workshop is to address future potential directions for research and scalability in electronic devices, packaging, system architectures, healthcare, and the environment. By determining the high-impact opportunities in these areas, focused efforts will overcome relevant scientific challenges in the physics and processing of paper-based electronics. Future work in paper-based electronics will leverage the physical properties of cellulose or cellulose-like materials while being biodegradable, renewable, and environmentally benign.

As a material, cellulose/paper has attracted significant attention for its fibrous, renewable, and bendable properties. Paper is a renewable resource with the most common forms coming from trees. Consisting primarily of polymeric cellulose, paper is a multi-scale material with millimeter-scale structures built on interlocking micro and nano fibers. This fibrous network permits wicking/handling of liquids for electro-chemo-mechanical sensors and devices. Paper also has tunable stress-strain relationships, which can be soft with similar mechanical impedance to biological tissue or hard with a theoretical elastic modulus for cellulose nanocrystals greater than steel and similar to Kevlar. Cellulosic fibers are also compatible with metallization, conductive coatings, nanotubes, and graphene for patterned electrical properties.

Stemming from desired improvements in the sensitivity of paper-based microfluidics, the birth of paper-based electronics began in the form of electrochemical sensing with patterned electrodes on paper. Over the last few years, paper-based electronics have focused on the fabrication of circuits, supercapacitors, batteries, fuel cells, solar cells, transistors, microwave electronics, digital logic/computation, displays, force-sensing MEMS, user interfaces, transparent substrates, substrates with high strength, wearable devices, and new diagnostic devices. These devices with their associated physics and processing are relevant to society’s ongoing efforts to in environmental sustainability, safety, communication, health, and performance.