Center for the Advancement of Printed Electronics


Statement of purpose

The purpose of the Center for the Advancement of Printed Electronics, housed in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Western Michigan University, is to provide a facility for research, development and application of materials for the fabrication of flexible electronic devices on printing press. The center contributes to the advancement of the printing, paper, and electronics industries, and their suppliers through the material design and analysis, device prototyping, device testing, press engineering, press-setup, education and training. Examples of printed flexible electronic devices include sensors, organic photovoltaics, intelligent packaging, radio frequency identification devices and flexible displays.


  • To become a world recognized research center for the advancement and development of printed flexible electronic devices.

  • To engage industrial partners in the research and development of state-of-the art printed flexible electronic technologies.

  • To become a world recognized training and education center for printed flexible electronic technologies.

Distinguishing activities

The distinguishing activities of the center are its multidisciplinary approach to research. Research teams are formed from faculty across multiple departments and multiple colleges. The faculty utilizes the facilities of existing WMU technology centers, and WMU's pilot plant facilities to accomplish their research goals. The Department of Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Imaging currently has an established research program in this area. The center has access to a printing pilot presses located in the Printing Pilot Plant at Welborn Hall which are dedicated to fulfilling the research needs of the center.

Printing and material deposition

  • K-Proofer (Gravure&Flexo)
  • FujiFilm Dimatix material printer
  • Flexo hand proofers
  • Screen Printer MSP-485 w/ Ulign IV vision
  • Spin coater (2,000-10,000 rpm), two steps
  • PC Labview operated NIMA dip-coater
  • Hitachi-4 (Thermal Evaporator) Metal, Al, Au etc.
  • Cylindrical Laboratory Coater
  • Mosier Proofing Press
  • Prufbau Proofing Press
  • Cerutti Rotogravure Press (4 units)
  • Comco Narrow Web Flexo Press (3 units)
  • High Speed Coater (4000 fpm, 40 in)
  • Kasper/Quintel 2001C Contact/Proximity Mask Aligner
  • Hot filament CVD (atmospheric quartz tube reactor for carbon films)
  • Microwave Plasma (2.56 GHz) CVD (PECVD-60-M, TEK-VAC Industries, Inc.)
  • RF (13.56 MHz) Plasma CVD (PECVD-60-R, TEK-VAC Industries, Inc.)

Printability evaluation and substrate characterization

  • ImageXpert, Verity IA and Image Pro Plus Image Analysis
  • Datacolor, X-Rite and GretagMacbeth Spectrophotometers
  • Tobias Mottle Tester
  • Atlas Weatherometer
  • BYK Gardner Multi-angle gloss meter
  • Emveco 210A stylus profilometer
  • Verity smoothness tester
  • Parker Print Smoothness and Air Permeability tester
  • Emco Ultrasonic Penetrometer

Electrical measurement

  • Keithly 6517A Electrometer-High Resistance Meter (peta-ohm capability)
  • Keithly 8009 High-Resistance High-Voltage Test Chamber
  • Agilent 4338B Milliohm, 1kHz Complex Impedance Measurement
  • Extech 380560 DC Milliohm Meter
  • Keithly 2602 Dual-Channel System Source-Meter , 4-point I-V measurement
  • PC Labview operated Keithley 2400 electrometer
  • Agilent 3458A, High precision 8.5 digit multimeter
  • Agilent E4980A High Precision LCR Meter, 20 Hz to 2 MHz

RF/RFID Measurement

  • Two 10’ x 10’ RF screen rooms
  • Agilent 4396B network/spectrum/impedance analyzer 1.8 GHz
  • Agilent 4395B network/spectrum analyzer 500 MHz
  • Diamond Engineering DAMS5000 Antenna Measurement System
  • Tektronix RSA3303A DC-3 GHz Real Time Spectrum Analyzer
  • Tektronix NetTek Analyzer Portable Platform with NetTek Transmitter Tester
  • RF Signal Generator up to 2.2 GHz
  • RF Signal Generator up to 990 MHz
  • Tektronix DPO4104 Oscilloscope, 4 channel, 1 GHz
  • One Alien Technology RFID Demonstration Kit
  • One Matrics/Symbol RFID Demonstration Kit
  • Multiple RFID/ISM Band Antennas antenna
  • Numerous RFID tags (Alien I, D, and squiggle tags and Matrics tags)
  • Versatruss 10” box-truss portable structure for antenna/reader mounting

Material characterization

  • TA Instruments Rheometrics Stress Rheometer AR2000
  • Particle Size Analyzer (Nicom 370 and Accusizer 770)
  • Perkin-Elmer Differential Scanning Calorimetry Pyris 1 DSC
  • Rheometric Scientific Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis DMTA V
  • TA Instruments Thermal Gravimetric Analysis Q500
  • Raman spectrometer (Solution # 633) He/Ne 633 nm
  • OceanOptics HR2000 fiber-optics UV-Vis spectrometer

Surface characterization

  • First Ten Angstroms Dynamic Contact Angle Analyzer FTA200
  • Dynamic surface tension analyzer SensaDyne
  • Krüss Tensiometer K10T (plate/ring)
  • Micromeritics Mercury Intrusion Porosimeter AutoPore IV
  • Micromeritics Surface area and porosity analyze TriStar
  • White Light Interferometry WYKO RST-Plus
  • Atomic Force Microscopy Autoprobe CP (Thermomicroscopes now Veeco) with possibility of contact and non-contact mode scanning, friction force microscopy, ultrasonic force microscopy, magnetic force microscopy, force distance analysis and local electrical conductivity testing
  • Optical microscope Olympus model PME (1500x) with CCD camera


  • Terra Universal Inc. Series 100 Acrylic Glove Box
  • Environmental Test Chamber Caron 6030 (humidification and refrigeration capabilities)
  • Cole Parmer Clean Room Oven (40-250 °C)
  • Fusion UV system I 300 MB
  • Fourdrinier Paper Machine



Massood Atashbar
Phone: (269) 276-3148
Fax: (269) 276-3151
Home page:

Massood Z. Atashbar received B.Sc. and M.Sc. in electrical engineering form Isfahan University of Technology and Sharif University of Technology, respectively and Ph.D. from Department of Communication and Electronic Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia in 1998. From 1998 to 1999 he was postdoctoral fellow at Center for Electronic Engineering and Acoustic Materials, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. He is an associate professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director and founder of Center for Advanced Smart Sensors and Structures at Western Michigan University. Dr. Atashbar’s research interests include physical and chemical micro and nanosensors development, wireless surface acoustic wave sensing systems and carbon nanotube based biosensors. He has published 4 book chapter and more than 100 articles in the area of physical and chemical sensors in refereed journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Atashbar is a senior member of IEEE, and serves as an associate editor and member of the Editorial Board of the IEEE Sensors Journal and International Journal of Simulation and Modeling. He has been serving on the Technical Program Committees of the IEEE Sensors conferences.

Bradley Bazuin
Phone: (269) 276-3149
Fax: (269) 276-3151
Home page:

Dr. Bradley Bazuin is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received his B.S. from Yale University and M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, performing research with the center for integrated electronics in medicine as part of the integrated circuits laboratory and center for integrated systems. At Western Michigan University, he is an active research collaborator and member of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Centers of Excellence for Advanced Smart Sensors and Structures (CASSS), the Advancement of Printed Electronics (CAPE), and the Center for Advanced Vehicle Design and Simulation (CAViDS) and advisor to the Sunseeker Solar "Rayce" Car team. His current research activities include advanced wireless communications, wireless smart sensor systems, analog design for electronic sensors, printed RFID and printed electronics. Dr. Bazuin is a member of the IEEE, ASEE and ION.

Parviz Merati

Dr. Merati is a professor in aerospace engineering at Western Michigan University. He has received his Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1985. He finished his post-doctoral research at the School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech in 1986. He has received several NSF awards for his mechanical seal research from NSF and industry and has published numerous papers on thermal-fluid characteristics of mechanical seals. He has been working with auto industry over the last ten years using optical techniques and computational fluid dynamics to investigate the under-hood buoyancy and its thermal effects. Dr. Merati’s expertise is in fluid mechanics, heat transfer and tribology. He has published extensively in these areas.

Alexandra Pekarovicova
Phone: (269) 276-3521
Fax: (269) 276-3501

Dr. Alexandra "Sasha" Pekarovicova is an associate professor of the Department of Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Imaging at Western Michigan University where she has worked since 1996. Before that, she was working at North Carolina State University and Slovak Technical University, Bratislava, Slovakia. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering of wood, pulp and paper from Slovak Technical University. Her research interests are mainly in ink and paper interactions, printability analysis, ink chemistry and printed electronics. She received several prestigious grants and awards from UNESCO and NATO, has co-authored five patents, more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and 80 conference articles at various national and international conferences. She teaches courses in the printing and chemical engineering.

John Patten
Phone: (269) 276-3246
Home page:

Dr. John Patten is a professor with research interests in manufacturing processes, renewable energy and alternative fuel cars, such as plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). He is the founding director of the Manufacturing Research Center within the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His extensive manufacturing research beginning in the early 1980s at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which made Dr. Patten an ideal candidate to lead the MRC, when he was hired by Western Michigan University in 2003.

The MRC is a multidisciplinary operation that provides applied research in engineering and the sciences to serve manufacturing industries. The center efforts help to reduce the cost of the processes and improve productivity, thereby reducing the cost of products and technology for businesses. The state-of-the-art laboratories allow for research in machining, materials testing and green manufacturing.

Brian Young
Phone: (269) 276-3522
Fax: (269) 276-3501

Dr. Brian R. Young joined Western Michigan University as a member of the faculty in chemical engineering in late 2009. He has over 20 years of leadership experience in the pharmaceutical industry in the areas of bioprocess, pharmaceutical, immunodiagnostic, vaccine, biologic, and chemical process research and development. He served at Pfizer as senior director pharmaceutical sciences, at Abbott Laboratories as research and development director of Bioprocess Engineering, at Pharmacia, Pharmacia and Upjohn, and the Upjohn Company as associate director Bioprocess research and development, and at Emergent BioSolutions BioDefense Operations as vice president of operations. He has been a member of senior management teams and has guided over a hundred professionals and scientists in their research, development and technical support roles. Dr. Young earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1984, and Bachelor of Science degrees in biochemistry and chemical engineering from the University of California at Davis in 1978. His Ph.D. thesis work was in the area of blood protein/biomaterial/biopolymer interactions co-investigated with professors at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and School of Pharmacy.



R. Kattumenu, M. Rebros, M. Joyce, P. D. Fleming, G. Neelgund, "Effect of Substrate Properties on Conductive Traces Printed with Silver-Based Flexographic Ink," Nordic Pulp and Paper Research Journal, 2009, 24, p.101-106

E. Hrehorova, M. Rebros, A. Pekarovicova and P. D. Fleming, "Suitability of Gravure Printing for High Volume Fabrication of Electronics," IS&T Digital Fabrication 2008, Pittsburgh, PA, September 7-12, 2008

M. Rebros, and E. Hrehorova, M. Joyce, P. D. Fleming, "The Challenges of Printing Functional Materials on Cellulose Based Substrates," IS&T Digital Fabrication 2008, Pittsburgh, PA, September 7-12, 2008

A. Pekarovicova, E. Hrehorova, P. D. Fleming, M. Rebros, M. Joyce, "Rotogravure for Printed Electronics," IARIGAI 35th International Research Conference on Advances in Printing and Media Technology, Valencia, Spain, September 7-10, 2008

E. Hrehorova, M. Rebros, A. Pekarovicova, P. D. Fleming, V. Bliznyuk, "Characterization of Conductive Polymer Inks based on PEDOT: PSS," TAGA Journal, Vol.4, p.219-231, 2008

G. M. Neelgund, E. Hrehorova, M. Joyce, and V. Bliznyuk, "Synthesis and characterization of polyanaline derivative and silver nanoparticle composites," Polymer International, 57, p.1083-1089, 2008

R. Kattumenu, M. Rebros, , E. Hrehorova, P. D. Fleming, M. Joyce, B. Bazuin, A. Pekarovicova, G. Neelgund, "Evaluation of Flexographically Printed Conductive Traces on Paper Substrates," TAGA 60th Annual Technical Conference, San Francisco, CA, 16-19 March, 2008

E. Hrehorova, A. Pekarovicova, P. D. Fleming, "Evaluation of Gravure Printing for Printed Electronics," TAGA 60th Annual Technical Conference, San Francisco, CA, 16-19 March, 2008

M. Rebros, E. Hrehorova, B. Bazuin, M. Joyce, P. D. Fleming, A. Pekarovicova, "Rotogravure Printed UHF RFID Antennae Directly on Packaging Materials," TAGA 60th Annual Technical Conference, San Francisco, CA, 16-19 March, 2008

E. Hrehorova, A. Pekarovicova, V. N. Bliznyuk and P. D. Fleming, "Polymeric Materials for Printed Electronics and Their Interactions with Paper Substrates," Proceedings of IS&T Digital Fabrication 2007, Anchorage, AK, September 16-20, 2007

M. Cruz, M. Joyce, P. D. Fleming, M. Rebros, A Pekarovicova, "Surface Topography Contribution To RFID Tag Efficiency Related To Conductivity," TAPPI Coating & Graphic Arts Conference, Miami, FL, 22-25 April, 2007

E. Hrehorova, A. Pekarovicova, M. Rebros, V. N. Bliznyuk, P. D. Fleming, "Factors Affecting Sheet Resistivity of Gravure Printed PEDOT:PSS Layers," IUMACRO’07, IUPAC and ACS Conference on Macromolecules for a Safe, Sustainable and Healthy World, 2nd Strategic Polymer Symposium, Brooklyn, NY, June 10-13, 2007

C. Baratto, G. Faglia, G. Sberveglieri, M. Z. Atashbar, E. Hrehorova, "Poly (3-hexylthiophene)-ZnO Nanocomposites For Novel Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Sensor," MRS Symposium V: Functional Materials for Chemical and Biochemical Sensors, San Francisco, CA, April 10-13, 2007

E. Hrehorova, M. Rebros, A. Pekarovicova, P. D. Fleming, V. N. Bliznyuk, "Characterization of Conductive Polymer Inks based on PEDOT: PSS," TAGA 59th Annual Technical Conference Pittsburgh, PA, 18-21 March, 2007

V. Bliznyuk, S. Singamaneni, E. Hrehorova, A. Pud, K. Fatyeyeva, G. Shapoval, "Polymer based nanocomposites with nonlinear electrical properties. Prospects for molecular electronics and printed electronics," LB-12 International Conference on Organized Organic Films, Krakow, Poland July 1-5, 2007

P. D. Fleming, B. Bazuin, M. Rebros, E. Hrehorova, M. K. Joyce, A. Pekarovicova, V. Bliznyuk, "Printed Electronics at Western Michigan University", invited paper in Proceedings of the AIChE’s 2007 Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, 4-9 November 2007

V. Bliznyuk, S. Singamaneni, R. Kattumenu, M. Atashbar, "Surface electrical conductivity in ultrathin single-wall carbon nanotube/polymer nanocomposite films," Applied Physics Letters, 2006, 88 (16): Art. No. 164101.

E. Hrehorova, A. Pekarovicova, P. D. Fleming, "Gravure Printabhrility of Conductive Polymer Inks", Proceedings of IS&T Digital Fabrication 2006, Denver, September 18-23, 2006

E. Hrehorova, L. Wood, J. Pekarovic, A. Pekarovicova, P. D. Fleming, V. Bliznyuk, "The Properties of Conducting Polymers and Substrates for Printed Electronics", Proceedings of IS&T Digital Fabrication 2005 , Baltimore, 2005, 197-202

L. Wood, E. Hrehorova, T. Joyce, P. D. Fleming, M. Joyce, A. Pekarovicova, V. Bliznyuk, "Paper Substrates and Inks for Printed Electronics", Pira Ink on Paper Symposium, Atlanta, GA, September 2005


Mastering Printed Electronics workshopPrinting Workshop logo

The workshop will provide you with a better understanding and appreciation of printing technologies and will help you understand the materials, processes and tooling by which devices are fabricated. Printed technologies such as inkjet, screen printing, gravure and flexography will be covered. A review of the benefits and disadvantages of current printing technologies will be provided, some of which will be demonstrated during the hands-on session. Workshop participants will also learn about functional inks and other materials for printed electronics and how to better understand how these materials differs from graphic inks.


"The course was very informative and a valuable tool for a novice to printed electronics. A good opportunity to be introduced to unique aspects and capabilities of the technology."
Ken Souders, DuPont Microcircuit Materials

"An excellent way to get up to speed on the potentials and pitfalls of printed electronics taught by industry experts and leading academics."
David Van Heerden, NanoMas Technologies

"The course was very interesting and informative. The investment in research and technology at Western Michigan University is impressive. The future of flexible printed electronics looks bright."
Bill Stoner, Amway

"The great thing about the recent printed electronics workshop, for me, was the combination of classroom and hands-on learning. It was extremely useful for me to learn about specific techniques for printing electronic components and then see the equipment, the test systems and the finished product. One nice side benefit was that I also met several potential collaborators and customers from other companies across the country."
Mike Knox, XGSciences


Materials registry for printed electronicslogo

Western Michigan University has received an award from FlexTech Alliance to create an online database for accessing technical information on functional materials used in manufacture of printed and flexible electronics.
flextech logo
Entries to the database include relevant non-proprietary information:

  • About the material itself (e.g., powder, dispersion, ready to use formulation, viscosity, electrical and optical properties, particle loading levels, formulation, etc.).
  • Information on processing and deposition method (inkjet, gravure, flexo, screen, spin coating, etc.)
  • Information on curing conditions, and any special information that might be relevant for a given end application.
  • Each entry will also need to specify the analytical methods used for data collection of the material's properties.