Materials Solution for Consumer Electronics

Material Solutions for Consumer Electronics
Dr. Kuzhichalil P. Surendran
Materials Science and Technology Division, CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science
and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram - 695019
Consumer electronics in general, comprises of electronic equipments intended for everyday use, most
often in entertainment, communications and office productivity. At the heart of every electronic
gadgets, there sits a microprocessor which is essentially a semiconductor chip that can be programmed
to perform various functions. According to Moore's Law, for a given price, the semiconductor
functionality doubles every two years. The unprecedented miniaturisation demands at the integrated
chip level pose uphill tasks before a Material Scientist like say, develop a chip interconnect more
efficient than copper, develop an inter-dielectric with as low K as possible, and develop a high K gate
dielectric better than silica and so for. On top of this, we will reach a point where the very existence of
silicon itself is at stake due to the internal heat and leakage current at atomic level. On the other hand,
the storage capacity of the memory devices are also tremendously expanding. Hence more energy
efficient devices based on spintronics and magnetoelectric phenomena are actively pursued. The size
shrinkage in consumer electronic gadgets have to deal with several unseen problems also. For example,
placing a large amount of electrical and electronic systems into a very confined space poses the problem
of keeping the Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) of these systems from interfering with each other
through radiated and conducted emissions, that sometimes referred to as crosstalk. Tailor made
composites and metamaterials have to be developed in order to mitigate the EMI in hand held gadgets.
Of late, Printed Electronics (PE) has emerged as a new trend of electronics, in which electronically active
components (semiconducting layers, electrodes, dielectrics, etc.) can be printed on flexible substrates,
and thereby eliminating the cumbersome photolithographic process of silicon electronics.