Flexible wireless monitoring systems could become more wearable by using a new three-dimensional integration process developed by IMEC.
The technology uses ultra-thin chip package (UTCP) interposers to test packaged thin dies before embedding. The chip is scaled down to 25 micron, embedded in a flexible UTCP, and is then embedded in a standard double-layer flex printed circuit board (PCB) using standard flex PCB production techniques. Other components can be mounted above and below the embedded chip for a high-density integration, and complete systems can be integrated in a conventional low-cost flex substrate using the technology.
IMEC demonstrated the process at the recent Smart Systems Integration Conference in Brussels. IMEC used the technology to develop a prototype flexible wireless monitor that measures heart rate and muscle activity. IMEC embedded an ultra-thin chip for the microcontroller and an analog-to-digital converter for the system, which also included an ultra-low power biopotential amplifier chip and a radio transceiver.
Scaling down the chips for UTCP embedding made them mechanically flexible and helped make the wireless monitoring system unobtrusive and comfortable to wear.
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