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Call to Action: New Materials & Process Database for the NextFlex Community

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Store – Share – Discover

Manufacturing of flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) has the benefit of a great diversity of materials and fabrication process options, however, the properties of common FHE materials are dependent on the processes used in fabrication. The ability to tune these properties gives the designer ultimate flexibility, but at the same time it complicates the design process because material property values depend on many factors outside the designer’s control. Transition from lab to fab is even further complicated because the same process conditions used in one are not always achievable in the other.

NextFlex has undertaken the development of a Materials & Process Database to begin to address these issues by providing a platform for sharing information about the materials, properties, and processes used in FHE manufacturing.

The NextFlex Materials & Process Database is now in development. Data schemas have been created to define lists of properties associated with functional classes of FHE materials and major process parameters for an initial set of FHE fabrication processes have been established. To advance the development of the database, NextFlex is seeking member volunteers to help beta-test the operational database and provide feedback. It is imperative that members provide input so that the result is useful to the FHE community. We also seek software developers to add tools that improve capability, functionality and ease-of use to the system. With the support and guidance of NIST, the NextFlex community established the initial data schema, and now it is time for refinement and usability testing, so we are calling on members to help with next steps.

FEATURES WHY USE IT
  • Available to the NextFlex member community, operated by NextFlex
  • Capture complete process records – fabrication processes and property test results
  • Extensible – can intake properties and processes that were not anticipated; the “schema” can grow over time. Data can be scalar, vector, even image or other file types are accepted
  • Aware of FHE processes – general processes or as specific as an individual tool, and new processes can be added with community support
  • Searchable – find what you or others have entered
  • Users control their own data – can edit to add or correct; all data is viewable by all registered users
  • Web-based interface
  • API (application programming interface) for development of tools that interact with the database (e.g., complex query construction, data discovery & visualization, etc.)
  • Computer platform agnostic
  • Open development environment – NextFlex and members can build and share tools to enhance functionality (e.g., alternate data entry modes, search/query templates, data discovery, or visualization tools)
  • Store data – institute or member-funded results can be contributed
  • Share process recipes, e.g., best-known methods
  • Find how others use a material
  • Store datasheets or datasheet values
  • Catalog materials and proper-ties that are available in your fab

The project lead for the Materials & Process Database is Scott Miller at NextFlex. If you are interested in adding content, helping with development, or commenting on database features and benefits, please contact Scott.

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