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Posted: June 3, 2008

PARC to develop sensor tape technology to track exposure to explosive blasts

(Nanowerk News) Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated (PARC), a Xerox Corporation company, has been selected by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop and prototype, all-printed, disposable, blast dosimeters. This technology is a flexible, wearable, electronic “tape” that contains sensors to record data associated with exposure to explosive blasts in the battlefield. The $2 million, 18-month DARPA program will leverage PARC’s jet-printing expertise to develop low-cost technologies and processes for fabricating the tape’s sensors, memory, and control electronics.
“The sensor-tape program is an important next step for PARC to take in the direction of printing high-value, low-cost electronics,” PARC’s President and Center Director Mark Bernstein said. “It builds upon the foundation of our scientific breakthroughs in large-area electronics and extends our core competencies in all-additive deposition of polymer devices and circuits. We believe there are significant future application opportunities for this technology in manufactured packaging, for electro-mechanical sensing, and in a broad range of biomedical scenarios.”
The sensor tape is designed to monitor the intensity and frequency of battlefield explosions experienced by soldiers and emergency responders. PARC will develop and implement multiple sensors to collect and record data associated with blasts, including shock waves, acceleration, acoustic levels, and light intensities. Comprising small, lightweight patches, the disposable tape will be attached to a soldier’s helmet or uniform for a period of one week, then removed to read the data, and then discarded.
Large Area Electronics at PARC
PARC also has been innovating in large area electronics for more than 25 years, creating a portfolio of foundational technologies including: amorphous and polycrystalline silicon; inkjet printing of electronic materials; fabrication of flexible backplanes for displays; printed organic electronics; fabrication of active matrix arrays for AMLCD and x-ray detectors; industrial prototype development; and transfer of new technologies to commercial manufacturing enterprises.
At the helm of PARC’s new DARPA sensor-tape program is principal investigator Ana Claudia Arias, area manager of PARC’s Printed Electronic Devices group. Dr. Arias, who joined PARC in 2003, holds a doctorate in physics (polymer photovoltaics) from Cambridge University (2001). Dr. Arias has ten years of experience in polymer-based electronics and six years of experience in printed electronics, including OLEDs, photovoltaics, and TFTs. She develops self-assembled processes based on polymer blends and integrates materials for all-additive printing of TFT backplanes for large area displays. Prior to joining PARC, Dr. Arias served as the materials group leader of Plastic Logic Limited, a startup company in the U.K. that develops flexible printed backplanes for displays.
About PARC
Palo Alto Research Center Inc. (PARC) is one of the world’s premier centers of innovation. PARC works directly with industry and government to discover, invent, and implement breakthroughs that transform how organizations deliver value to their customers. As a result, PARC enables companies to create new technology platforms and new businesses that make significant impact. Celebrated for innovations such as laser printing, the Ethernet, the graphical user interface, ubiquitous computing, blue lasers, MEMS, and large-area electronics, PARC has invented and contributed technologies that have helped launch more than 30 companies. PARC was previously known as “Xerox PARC,” then incorporated in 2002 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox Corporation. PARC’s work in large area electronics is described at www.parc.com/lae.
Source: PARC