Message from the Director

We have lived through an interesting six months with COVID-19 and the university transitioning to remote instruction. It has been a learning experience as the student teams and the faculty have had to adjust to an alternate model of operation for lab-access to allow safe-operations while allowing for the research programs to keep ticking. In spite of the restrictions, I am proud to say that the AU graduate research assistants have been very resilient in adjusting when needed to the rigors of remote working and offset-hours. We have a full slate of results to show this Fall-2020 review. The past 6-months has also been very eventful on a number of other fronts. The CAVE3 electronics research center has had a major augmentation of the research facilities in the area of additively-printed flexible electronics to add to an already formidable slate of facilities. The additions include 1) SUSS MicroTEC PixDro LP50 Inkjet Printer (2) nScrypt 3Dn-300 Direct Write Quad-Head Printer (3) Xenon X-1100 Photosintering System with Flatbed Capability (4) Lamination Encapsulation for FHE. The added facilities have been installed, are fully operational, and being used in a number of FHE programs. National conferences at which CAVE3 students had a number of papers also transitioned to a virtual live format including the IEEE Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC) and the IEEE ITHERM.

I am glad to report that the CAVE3 students had a strong showing at the ITHERM conference, winning best-paper awards in a number of paper categories. Winning students included Tony Thomas, Deb Mondal, and Ved Soni for the following papers (1) Outstanding Paper of Conference Award: Lall, P., T. Thomas, and K. Blecker, RUL estimations of SAC305 solder PCBs under different conditions of temperature and vibration loads, Proceedings of the 19th IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems, pp. 1340-1349, July 21-23, 2020. (2) Best Overall Poster Award: Mondal, D., A. Fahim, J. Suhling, P. Lall, Modeling Deformation Behavior of Multiple Grained SAC305 Solder Joints, Proceedings of the 19th IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems, pp. 1221-1229, July 21-23, 2020. (3) Outstanding Poster Award, Emerging Technologies & Fundamentals: Lall, P., V. Soni, and S. Miller, Effect of Dynamic Folding with Varying Fold Orientations and C-rates on Flexible Power Source Capacity Degradation, Proceedings of the 19th IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems, pp. 854-860, July 21-23, 2020.

We made some major advancements in the areas of flexible encapsulation solutions for FHE working with Flex International and a number of material vendors including ACI and Novagard on the development, modification and identification of material solutions which would stand the rigors of flexing, twisting and folding in the presence of sweat expected of wearable applications. We have also made major advancements in additive printed processes for multilayer circuits. In addition, we will report new results on process recipes for the additive aerosol-jet printing of multilayer circuits for up to 8-layers. We have developed and will report in this review on new process-property-performance relationships for additive printed traces. We kicked off a new programs for NASA AstroSENSE module, a three-way collaboration between NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Auburn University and NextFlex in which the AU team will work on developing a solution for reliable operation of the encapsulated wearable electronics modules intended for astronauts of thin flexible batteries as part of the program. I am glad to report that Texas Instruments has joined the CAVE3 Electronics Research Center as a full member.

Pradeep Lall,
MacFarlane Distinguished Professor and Director