Inkjet printing on flexible paper and additive manufacturing technologies (AMT) are introduced for the sustainable ultra-low-cost fabrication of flexible radio frequency (RF)/microwave electronics and sensors. This paper covers examples of state-of-the-art integrated wireless sensor modules on paper or flexible polymers and shows numerous inkjet-printed passives, sensors, origami, and microfluidics topologies. It also demonstrates additively manufactured antennas that could potentially set the foundation for the truly convergent wireless sensor ad-hoc networks of the future with enhanced cognitive intelligence and “zero-power” operability through ambient energy harvesting and wireless power transfer. The paper also discusses the major challenges for the realization of inkjet-printed/3-D printed high-complexity flexible modules as well as future directions in the area of environmentally-friendly “Green”) RF electronics and “Smart-House” conformal sensors.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.