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NSERC-Green Electronics Network (GreEN)

Challenge

The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting billions of smart devices and sensors across the world, enabling them to communicate and share data.  As the IoT continues to grow, many of these devices will be simple, low-cost sensors deployed everywhere, monitoring food supplies, environmental conditions of air and water, human health, and the status of packaged goods.  Sensors will transform packaging for consumer goods into smart packaging that will not only detect detrimental effects, such as temperature increases, excessive shock/vibration or pH and moisture, but will also signal when corrective action is needed to prevent irreparable damage to the package content.  Low-cost manufacturing is essential for smart packaging to enable the fabrication of devices inexpensive enough to be disposable.  Printed electronics (PE), a flourishing area of research that combines conventional printing methods with conducting, dielectric, and semiconducting inks, provides the high throughput and low-cost manufacturing needed for the production of light and flexible IoT sensors.  However, the sheer number of printed sensors forecast for the IoT also presents a critical environmental challenge, making it essential that both PE manufacturing processes and end-of-life disposal of devices are eco-friendly and green.  For PE manufacturing to become a viable technology to provide sensors to IoT, it is crucial to develop PE fabrication processes that use environmentally benign, sustainable, and non-harmful materials and solvents.  The finished product must furthermore be recyclable or biodegradable to alleviate the enormous amount of e-waste that is already a global problem.

Network Structure

The NSERC-Green Electronics Network (GreEN) is a unique transdisciplinary academic and industrial team that connects 19 researchers from 13 universities across Canada, 1 College Centre for the Transfer of Technologies as well as 22 industrial partners and 14 collaborating organizations (national and international) providing opportunities for training of at least 70 HQP every year. The NSERC-GreEN administration is based at Université Laval. The management structure of the network comprises a board of directors, a scientific advisory committee and a technology transfer committee.

Research Objectives

The chief objective of NSERC-GreEN is to be one of the first groups in the world to develop a wide range of environmentally-benign printed sensor technologies for smart packaging, based on new organic functional materials and on the adaptation of conventional printing techniques for this cutting-edge application. This objective will be achieved under the following two research themes:

Theme 1: Green Materials and Processes for Printed Electronic Devices

Theme 2: Printing Processes and Device Fabrication

The composition of the network incorporates members who are expert in electronic materials synthesis and printed electronics encompassing materials integration and testing, device design and modelling, and device fabrication.

Outcomes

NSERC-GreEN aims to replace the traditional linear “take, make, waste” model with a “take, make, return” model, where return can mean biodegrading the materials back into the earth, or recycling materials back to the manufacturing process to reduce the need for new raw material. Focusing on a 5-year horizon, and working closely with our partners, NSERC-GreEN will address these key issues to fabricate environmentally-friendly printed electronic sensors for smart packaging applications. These technological advances will create a completely new range of potential applications having great economic and environmental benefits. NSERC-GreEN research activities and cross-fertilization with industrial partners will position Canada as a global leader in the development of innovative devices and manufacturing processes for PE applications.

Contact

Prof. Mario Leclerc
Director of GreEN Network
Université Laval
Email: mario.leclerc@chm.ulaval.ca
Tel.: 418-656-3452

Prof. Tricia B. Carmichael
Co-director of GreEN Network
University of Windsor
Email:tbcarmic@uwindsor.ca
Tel.: 519-253-3000, ext. 3538

Serge Beaupré
Network Manager
Université Laval
Email: serge.beaupre.1@ulaval.ca
Tel.:418-656-2131, ext. 12250

Website: This link will take you to another Web site https://www.nserc-green.ulaval.ca/


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