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SBIR Phase I:Flexible Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Label Powered by Organic Photovoltaics

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2112259
Agency Tracking Number: 2112259
Amount: $255,929.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: I
Solicitation Number: NSF 20-527
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-01-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-02-28
Small Business Information
United States
DUNS: 058790449
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Olga Griffith
 (520) 465-8797
Business Contact
 Olga Griffith
Phone: (520) 465-8797
Research Institution

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will create a low-cost, flexible, Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Label that is self-powered in all lighted conditions. This Smart Label can be directly attached to packages, shipments, buildings, or worn as a medical device, enabling real-time data with improved accuracy. Sensing labels and asset trackers are extensively used to control inventories and monitor the freshness, quality, safety, and shelf life of perishable goods, as well as pharmaceuticals, foods, healthcare samples, and more. Existing radiofrequency identification (RFID) smart labels have no energy storage or energy harvesting capability. Current asset trackers have rechargeable batteries, with some powered by silicon-based photovoltaics which have poor indoor light performance. This project integrates organic photovoltaics (OPV) into flexible smart labels for continuous power supply under indoor and outdoor light, allowing frequent transmission of data to the cloud. OPV technology will be uniquely tuned to the common indoor light spectra to deliver light-to-electricity performance values over 20%, twice the indoor light performance of the best commercially available silicon photovoltaics. This program will combine flexible OPV with flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) to create a low-cost, flexible, thin, light-weight, and credit-card-sized IoT device with onboard sensors and radios for continuous wireless communication.This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop a continuously-operating flexible IoT device for flexible IoT smart labels on packaging, asset tracking, and in retail. The current limitations to a completely flexible, OPV-powered IoT device are: (1) OPV has not been specifically tuned to the light emitting diode (LED) spectrum; (2) OPV has not been attached to FHE before; and (3) IoT-Smart-Label-integrated OPV has not existed in production before. Attaching the FHE to OPV is the most significant technical risk, so the goal of this project is to validate flexible OPV-powered IoT smart labels as a viable product, delivering three proof-of-concept prototypes. To achieve this primary goal, the objectives are divided into groups based on eight key elements: (1) develope OPV sheet for printed electronics integration, (2) demonstrate printed device circuits and antenna on the backside of OPV sheets, (3) determine ideal power management chip for conversion to flex-compatible form factor, (4) place and integrate silicon chips, (5) integrate and test the flexible batteries, (6) package/laminate the entire flex label, (7) demonstrate wireless data transfer from the flex IoT device to the cloud, and (8) develop roadmap for manufacturing scale-up in Phase II, including an estimate of scaled-up product cost.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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