This is how a conventional circuit board would look like………

There is a large growth market for flexible circuits, RFID( it is a technology that uses communication via electromagnetic waves to exchange data between a terminal and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification and tracking) antennas and biosensors on films. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST are presenting a new technology at K 2010, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber. The experts can now apply conductive metal circuits to plastic substrates in a process that is energy- and material-conserving and thus more sustainable.

Flexible circuits can be found in many devices where space and weight considerations are dominant in the design of electronics: in cars, in cameras and video equipment, in mini-computers for athletes or in inkjet printers.

Patterns like this one can be created on flexible films with the aid of plasma printing. Shown here: an RFID structure.

The new technology is known as “P3T,” which is shorthand for “Plasma Printing and Packaging Technology.” The benefits: P3T involves considerably fewer process steps than existing processes, and it conserves raw materials.

Unlike previous methods, the researchers do not start with a polymer film metalized over its entire surface from which excess metal is then removed to create the circuits. Instead, to produce flexible circuit boards, they apply circuits made of copper to the film that serves as substrate. In the case of biosensors, palladium is used.