All-printed diode operating at 1.6 GHz

Sani, N., Robertsson, M., Cooper, P., Wang, X., Svensson, M., Andersson Ersman, P., Norberg, P., Nilsson, M., Nilsson, D., Xianjie, L., Hesselbom, H., Akesso, L., Fahlman, M., Crispin, X., Engquist, I., Berggren, M., and Gustafsson, G.
Type of publication: 
Journal article

Printed electronics are considered for wireless electronic tags and sensors within the future Internet-of-things (IoT) concept. As a consequence of the low charge carrier mobility of present printable organic and inorganic semiconductors, the operational frequency of printed rectifiers is not high enough to enable direct communication and powering between mobile phones and printed e-tags. Here, we report an all-printed diode operating up to 1.6 GHz. The device, based on two stacked layers of Si and NbSi2 particles, is manufactured on a flexible substrate at low temperature and in ambient atmosphere. The high charge carrier mobility of the Si microparticles allows device operation to occur in the charge injection-limited regime. The asymmetry of the oxide layers in the resulting device stack leads to rectification of tunneling current. Printed diodes were combined with antennas and electrochromic displays to form an all-printed e-tag. The harvested signal from a Global System for Mobile Communications mobile phone was used to update the display. Our findings demonstrate a new communication pathway for printed electronics within IoT applications.

Link to full publication:
Official URL:
Published in: 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), vol. 111, pp. 11943-11948
Additional info: 

Printed electronic labels and stickers are expected to define future outposts of the communication web, as remote sensors, detectors, and as surveillance technology, within the Internet-of-things concept. It is crucial to couple such technology with standard communication systems that commonly operate at gigahertz frequencies. To accomplish this, ultra–high-frequency rectification components manufactured in a low-temperature printing process are necessary. Here, we report an all-printed diode operating above 1 GHz, achieved using a combination of Si and NbSi2 microparticles. The diode was integrated with a flexible antenna and a printed electrochromic display indicator to successfully demonstrate remote transfer of signal and power from a standard Global System for Mobile Communications phone to the resulting e-label.