NextFlex Awards $4.5M to UML and Raytheon for Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing



Edwin L. Aguirre

NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute, has awarded three grants totaling nearly $4.5 million to teams of researchers from the UMass Lowell Nanomanufacturing Center and defense contractor Raytheon IDS. The teams’ goal is to develop innovative manufacturing processes to help advance the country’s capability and leadership in flexible hybrid electronics (FHE).

FHE combines ultrathin silicon components, conductive and active inks and high-precision printing technologies to fabricate sensors that are lightweight, low-cost and can conform to irregular shapes. By printing electronic circuits on bendable, stretchable substrates, these fully functional devices can be applied to almost any surface or object — from medical devices, tents and backpacks to cars, jet engines and buildings — for wireless monitoring. The real-time monitoring can lead to improved health, safety and efficiency. 

The first NextFlex grant, valued at $1.9 million, was awarded to Joey Mead, Alkim Akyurtlu, Carol Barry and Mary Herndon for their project, called “Multi-functional substrates and printing integration for RF [radio-frequency] devices.” The manufacturing processes that are being developed during the project are being used to design the next generation of adaptive printed RF and microwave antenna components and devices required for GPS navigation and ground-based radar systems for…

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