Economic integration of high-powered, tiny antennas in mobile
phones is rapidly becoming a major quest by many materials and manufacturing
In future devices, the number of antennas could grow to 16
to cover bandwidths such as GSM (Global System for
Mobile Communications), UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System),
Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, as well as RFID for near-field communication
applications. But they must be contained within a shrinking - not expanding - space.
Bayer MaterialScience has developed and applied for a patent
on a technology in which polymer electronics are printed on polycarbonate films
already used to decorate phones.
"Besides the formability advantage, the process offers cost
advantages over the common electrolytic deposition method," says Elisa Picasso,
business development manager for Functional Films at Bayer MaterialScience.
"The printed antennas are extremely thin and easily accommodated even in small
mobile telephone shells."
Three-dimensional electronic components are made from
printed films using the film insert molding (FIM) process in which film
is fed into an injection-molding
Bayer MaterialScience is collaborating with Molex, a
world-leading direct supplier to the mobile communications industry, and a
German company that produces specialized films for forming plastic films.
Polycarbonate films in the Makrofol HF range, which Bayer
MaterialScience currently is expanding, offer other possibilities for the
production of electronic components, according to Picasso.
The films have a scratchproof surface with a deep-gloss
finish (piano effect), and are gently and precisely formed in the high-pressure
forming (HPF) process. Even small radii and high depths of draw can be
A pre-cured coating is given a final cure with UV light,
before the film is back injected with plastic using the FIM process. Components
with a rating of "1H" or better in the pencil hardness test can be manufactured
using this approach.
One of the first users of this product family, MakrofolTP
278, is Albrecht Jung & Co. for the display of a new KNX compact room