Megan J. Cordill, Patrice Kreiml, Harald Köstenbauer, Christian Mitterer

A Comparison of 90° Bending for Foldable Electronics

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Surfaces and Interfaces

In order to assess the longevity of foldable electronics, folding or bending tests on model systems need to be performed. However, not all bending tests are created equal in that different configurations lead to different amounts of mechanical damage and thus different electrical responses. Two 90° bending instruments were compared using two model metallic thin film systems on polyimide to establish if the two seemingly similar bending tests yield the same results. The two film systems, namely 300 nm Mo and 130 nm Al on 50 nm Mo, were magnetron-sputtered on polyimide substrates and tested in the custom-built FLEX-E-TEST and the commercially available YUASA test that is capable of in situ resistance measurements. For statistics, 10–12 samples were tested of each film system on each folding device using the same applied bending strain and number of cycles. Samples were intermittently characterized with confocal laser scanning microscopy and electrical resistance to correlate the amount of mechanical damage (crack density) with the electrical normalized resistance ratio of the damaged area. The results show that even with the same bending radius, a similar but not identical amount of mechanical damage forms for both bending devices. Additionally, the resistance as a function of cycles also differs after 10,000 cycles. A closer examination of the damage, especially in the Al/Mo film system, indicates that the speed of the bending, and if the samples experience spring back, can alter the received mechanical damage. The in situ resistance data of the YUASA test were further examined and a suggestion of standardizing how folding or bending test results are reported is provided.

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