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JANUARY 2023 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 73 Joe Fjelstad is founder and CEO of Verdant Electronics and an international authority and inno- vator in the field of electronic interconnection and packaging technologies with more than 185 patents issued or pending. To read past columns or contact Fjelstad, click here. Download your copy of Fjelstad's book Flexible Circuit Technology, 4 th Edition, and watch his in-depth workshop series "Flexible Circuit Technology." office as it was reportedly suggested by U.S. Commissioner of Patents, Charles H. Duell, in 1899, because "everything that can be invented has been invented." At the time, about 700,000 patents had been issued; today, roughly 11.5 million patents exist, and the number of appli- cations is growing. We will collectively negoti- ate our way through the current controversy, but even if patents were to disappear, inven- tors would continue to invent, as it is an inte- gral part of our human nature. Enjoy the new year; get out there and invent. DESIGN007 Emerging forms of thin-film device technologies that rely on alternative semiconductor materials, such as printable organics, nanocarbon allotropes and metal oxides, could contribute to a more eco- nomically and environmentally sustainable internet of things (IoT), a KAUST-led international team sug- gests. The IoT is set to have a major impact on daily life and many industries. It connects and facilitates data exchange between a multitude of smart objects of various shape and size—such as remote-controlled home security systems, self-driving cars equipped with sensors that detect obstacles on the road, and temperature-controlled factory equipment—over the internet and other sensing and communications networks. Also, the current global production of lith- ium for battery materials may not keep up with the increasing energy demand from the swelling num- ber of sensors. Wirelessly powered sen- sor nodes could help achieve a sustainable IoT by drawing energy from the environment using so-called energy har- vesters, such as photovoltaic cells and radio-frequency (RF) energy harvesters, among other technologies. Large-area electronics could be key in enabling these power sources. KAUST alumni Kalaivanan Loganathan, with Thomas Anthopoulos and coworkers, assessed the viability of various large-area elec- tronic technologies and their potential to deliver ecofriendly, wirelessly powered IoT sensors. Over the years, Anthopoulos' team has devel- oped a range of RF electronic components, includ- ing metal-oxide and organic polymer-based semi- conductor devices known as Schottky diodes. "These devices are crucial components in wireless energy harvesters and ultimately dictate the perfor- mance and cost of the sensor nodes," Loganathan says. Key contributions from the KAUST team include scalable methods for manufacturing RF diodes to harvest energy reaching the 5G/6G frequency range. "Such technologies provide the needed building blocks toward a more sustainable way to power the billions of sensor nodes in the near future," Anthopoulos says. (Source: KAUST) A Greener Internet of Things With No Wires Attached

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