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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 27 | 30. Mai 2014
Priority Programme “High Frequency Flexible Bendable Electronics for Wireless Communication Systems” (FFlexCom, SPP 1796)

A new Priority Programme entitled “High Frequency Flexible Bendable Electronics for Wireless Communication Systems” (FFlexCom, SPP 1796) has been established by the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). The programme is planned to run for six years. In this present call, we invite to submit proposals for the first funding period of three years.

In the past, electronic devices have mainly been advanced regarding performance, power consumption and costs. A further interesting property of future electronics is mechanical flexibility which can come together with advantageous features such as bendability, stretchability, light weight, ultra thinness, transparency, large area integration and easy recyclability. These properties can be achieved by modern TOLAE (thin film organic and large area electronics) technologies.

Cut-off frequencies up to the MHz range and bending radii down to 3 mm were reported for TOLAE devices such as transistors. These recent achievements indicate a novel promising research area: wireless communication systems fully integrated on ultra-thin, bendable and flexible substrates such as plastic or even paper. Hence, conventional rigid circuit boards would not be required any more. However, to enable functional flexible systems and sufficiently high operation frequencies for wireless communications, the speed of flexible TOLAE devices and circuits must be massively increased.

The FFlexCom programme wants to pave the way for the first circuits and systems for wireless communications, which are fully integrated in TOLAE technologies. We expect to cover the following areas:

  • Research on optimised wireless system architectures taking into account the limited operation frequencies, bandwidths and device counts of TOLAE technologies. Activities demonstrating the data communication on basis of receivers and/or transmitters fully integrated in TOLAE technologies are highly encouraged. The investigations can also include multifunctional flexible wireless systems featuring localisation radar and identification in addition to communications.
  • Design of key circuits such as low noise amplifiers, power amplifiers, low noise oscillators and synthesisers, frequency converters, analogue to digital converters and digital to analogue converters, as well as simple data modulators and demodulators using fast TOLAE technologies. One main challenge is to achieve sufficiently high operation frequencies considering the moderate performance of TOLAE devices.
  • Exploration of concepts for TOLAE devices such as transistors and diodes which enable very high operation frequencies up to the GHz regime. Examples for corresponding innovations are: Vertical transistor structures, aggressively down-scaled gate lengths, 2-D semiconductors or even 1-D structures. Advanced organic and inorganic high-mobility materials such as indium gallium zinc oxide, zinc tin oxide, molybdenum sulphide, tungsten disulphide, are examples for promising candidates for high speed TOLAE transistors. Low loss passive TOLAE devices (if possible tuneable) such as inductors, capacitors, antennas, filters and resonators are also important components.
  • Precise compact small signal, large signal and noise modelling for the TOLAE devices enabling efficient circuit design.
  • Advanced studies for low loss homogeneous and heterogeneous packaging of TOLAE devices and TOLAE based interconnects maintaining flexibility.

The fabrication methods of the devices, circuits and systems can e.g. be based on printing, nano-imprint, lithography, spray-coating, transfer printing and hybrid approaches. Implementations on flexible plastic or paper substrates, as well as on flexible ultra-thinned chips (e.g. on silicon), are considered. The research should have suited application scenarios in mind. Examples for applications are data communications for sensor and actuator networks, medical and on-body use, fully flexible broadcast radios, smart item tracking, and textile integration. Further ideas aiming at advancing the speed of TOLAE devices, circuits and systems for wireless communications and visions for corresponding applications are welcome.

To enable the required breakthrough for wireless communication systems fully integrated in TOLAE technologies, the combination of multidisciplinary competences is required. Hence, FFlexCom aims at bringing together experts from different disciplines including electrical engineering, physics, chemistry and mechanical engineering. To stimulate the synergies and the networking between the projects, organise joined workshops and dissemination activities, promote young researchers and gender issues, a coordinating project will be implemented.

Further information concerning the research orientation of the programme can be found at the programme’s website. The proposals for the initial three year phase are invited with the deadline 23 September 2014. They have to be submitted via the DFG’s portal elan for applications. Those applicants who do not yet have an account on elan (from earlier proposal submissions or from review tasks accomplished for DFG) need to register. The registration of a new account needs to be confirmed manually by DFG and should thus be requested no later than two weeks before the deadline. The proposals must be marked by “SPP 1796”, which should indicate how they fit into this programme as a whole, have to be submitted in English, and need to be prepared using the respective forms and guidelines in English language.

General information on proposals in the framework of a Priority Programme (in particular concerning eligibility and admissible funding requests) can be found in guideline 50.05 (part B). See also guideline 54.01 for instructions how to prepare a proposal. The specific proposal has to be structured according to form 54.012. However, it is admissible to prepare the proposal as a pdf-file, e.g., using LaTeX, instead of using the rtf-file which is available online.

Please notice the rules for publication lists that have been modified recently: Beside the general bibliography every proposal should include a list of up to ten publications that relate directly to the project. Further the number of publications that may be listed in any academic CV has been increased to up to ten as well. These publications need to be classified as a) refereed publications (published articles and monographs; accepted articles with note of acceptance by the journal) or b) other publications (e.g. preprints on arXiv).

The initial review will presumably take place at Dresden University in January 2015.

Further Information

The DFG’s electronic proposal processing system elan with proposal instructions and guidelines can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 54.01en and 50.05en, which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

For scientific enquiries concerning the scope of the programme, please contact the Priority Programme’s coordinator:

  • Prof. Dr. sc. techn. habil. Betriebswissenschaften NDS Frank Ellinger,
    Technische Universität Dresden,
    Professur für Schaltungstechnik und Netzwerktheorie,
    Fakultät Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik,
    Helmholtzstraße 18,
    BAR 118/119,
    01069 Dresden,
    phone: +49351463-38735,
    Frank.Ellinger@tu-dresden.de

For administrative enquiries please contact at the DFG:

  • Dr.-Ing. Damian Dudek,
    DFG,
    Ingenieurwissenschaften,
    Kennedyallee 40,
    53175 Bonn,
    phone: +49228885-2573,
    Damian.Dudek@dfg.de
  • Gudrun Freitag,
    DFG,
    Kennedyallee 40,
    53175 Bonn,
    phone: +49228885-2623,
    Fax: +49228885-2777,
    Gudrun.Freitag@dfg.de

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