David Watson (BEng Aberdeen, MSc, PhD Heriot-Watt) is a research associate working within the MIcroSystems Engineering Centre (MISEC) at Heriot-Watt University. His research interests include flexible and printable electronics for novel packaging applications, ultrasound and microfluidics for biomedical applications and biomimetics.
Within Sonopill, he is researching interconnection technologies, which provide an electrical signal to the high resolution ultrasound transducer arrays. The main challenges are the Sonopill’s tight spatial constraints and the tiny feature size of each of the transducer array elements, which is 50 μm and below.
Providing an electrical connection to each of the dozens of array elements individually can be done with conductive adhesives or films. Both the mechanical strength and electrical yield of this is poor however. To tackle this problem, a novel ‘anisotropic conductive adhesive’ (ACA) is being tested. Since it only conducts in one direction, one large blob of it can be used to connect each array element to each connector without fear of misgalignment, short circuits or weak/broken bonds. It also provides the potential for finer connection features with straightforward upscaling for mass production.