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Thinfilm, PARC team on polymer memory

October 14, 2010 // Peter Clarke

Thinfilm, PARC team on polymer memory

Thinfilm Film Electronics ASA, a provider of polymer memory technology, has announced it is working with Palo Alto Research Center Inc., a subsidiary of Xerox, to develop memory technology enabled through printed electronics.

Thinfilm (Oslo, Norway) has been commercializing printed, rewritable memory using ferroelectric polymer material for application in specific markets — including toys and games — for a number of years and is developing contact‐based memory arrays for higher‐capacity applications.

Combining Thinfilm's memory with PARC's printed thin‐film transistor technology will allow the development of integrated systems as part of Thinfilm's product roadmap, the company said. PARC specializes in designing full‐featured systems customized for clients' applications. Such systems will benefit from Thinfilm's non‐volatile ferroelectric polymer memory technology because power consumption is negligible and no connection to external power is required to retain information.

Target markets for Thinfilm memory products include RFID tags, sensor tags, disposable price labels. NFC‐enabled phones will soon put RFID readers directly in millions of people's pockets, purses, and backpacks. Meanwhile, major companies are targeting RF for location tags, advertising, smart packaging, and other consumer‐based applications.

"Item‐level tagging is the largest single market application for what Thinfilm memory and PARC can bring to the table together here," said Thinfilm CEO Davor Sutija, in a statement.

"By working closely with PARC to couple our memory products with their transistor technology and printed electronics capabilities, we will enable compact, 128‐bit, fully printed memory systems," said Sutija. "Several of the world's large toy manufacturers are already designing concepts including this type of memory because of its unique design, form factor, and cost advantages. In addition to our products for card‐based games and toys, we are adding resources to support the development of printed ID and sensor tags."

"We've been working to enhance the performance and reliability of printed electronics for quite some time now, and look forward to seeing this work in commercial products," said PARC scientist Ana Claudia Arias, in the same statement.
"When you consider the trajectory of emerging technologies, printed electronics is just coming down from its hype cycle and entering the realization phase. So now is the time for companies to look seriously at what's possible in this burgeoning market," said PARC CEO Mark Bernstein.
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