Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An impermeable wrap for future electronics

02.09.2011
A nanoparticle-infused film brings innovative lighting and display technologies closer to reality.

A moisture-resistant coating that extends the lifetime and reliability of plastic electronic devices, such as organic solar cells or flexible displays, has garnered the intense interest of developers of next-generation lighting materials.

By cranking out large sheets of polymers bearing electronic circuitry using roll-to-roll technology, electronics manufacturers can substantially reduce their capital and processing costs. The possibilities for low-cost flexible panel lighting inspiring, says Senthil Ramadas, co-founder and chief technology officer of Tera-Barrier Films¡ªa company spun-out of the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) in 2009. ¡°Flexible devices can take any form¡ªthin films of organic lighting could cover entire ceilings or wrap around pillars.¡±

Despite their promise, however, flexible polymer-based electronics remain highly vulnerable to the elements, as water and oxygen molecules can easily seep into these plastic devices and degrade sensitive internal components. Current protection technologies involve the deposition of multiple layers of inorganic and organic films over the active substrate, but such ¡®stacks¡¯ of protection still allow permeation at a rate of one-thousandth of a gram per square meter per day¡ªthree orders of magnitude higher than an ¡®ideal¡¯ barrier, Ramadas explains.

In 1999, Ramadas and his colleagues at the IMRE spearheaded research into organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and barrier substrates to protect them. They quickly discovered that sandwiching a polymer blend containing an innovative ingredient¡ªmetal oxide nanoparticles¡ªbetween two inorganic films greatly reduced the moisture intrusion rate to just one-millionth of a gram per square meter per day. These metal nanoparticles play a dual role by sealing pinholes and cracks in barrier films and at the same time reacting with and deactivating incoming water and oxygen molecules.

By adjusting the nanoparticle mix, the researchers also found that they could incorporate new functionalities into the plastic moisture barriers. Using this approach, the team have created a range of tailor-made products including ultraviolet light-blocking films, heat-extracting films and even a calcium-based integrated sensor that precisely measures moisture permeation. These innovations have been recognized by the granting of 50 patents for systems developed by the Tera-Barrier Films team.

The ability to provide individualized protection and encapsulation solutions to customers played a key role in the decision of Exploit Technologies, the commercialization arm of A*STAR, and Applied Ventures, a US-based investment firm, to finance and incubate the new start-up. A recent substantial investment by Japanese multinational KISCO promises to boost the company¡¯s projected revenues to $500 million in 2018 by spreading their proprietary technology throughout the critical Asia-Pacific manufacturing region.

KISCO has worked closely with the researchers since 2003, marketing the nanotechnology-based films and distributing samples throughout Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. KISCO¡¯s latest investment promises to enable immediate delivery of Tera-Barrier Films¡¯ unique products to clients for testing, validation and eventual implementation into product lines, according to CEO Mark Auch.

¡°KISCO has linked a lot of customers to us¡ªit¡¯s a strategic partnership,¡± says Auch. ¡°They see a very big potential for solar cells and OLED devices in the Asia-Pacific region, and it¡¯s a large market.¡±

In addition to these applications, Tera-Barrier Films¡¯ products have potential for use in food and medical packaging¡ªpositioning the company to achieve high profitability once mass-production begins in the next few years.

About Tera©Barrier Films

Tera-Barrier Films Pte. Ltd was jointly founded by Senthil Ramadas and Mark Auch with the support of Exploit Technologies, the strategic marketing and commercialization arm of A*STAR. Tera-Barrier Films is a spin-off company from A*STAR¡¯s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering.

About Applied Ventures

Applied Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Applied Materials Inc., invests in early stage technology companies with high growth potential that provide a window on technologies that advance or complement Applied Materials¡¯ core expertise in nanomanufacturing technology.

About the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering

The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) was established in 1997 with the aim of becoming a leading research institute for materials science and engineering. The IMRE has developed strong capabilities in materials analysis, characterization, materials growth, patterning, fabrication, synthesis and integration, and has established reseach and development program in collaboration with industry partners.

Eugene Low | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/feature-and-innovation/6383
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New biomaterial could replace plastic laminates, greatly reduce pollution
21.09.2017 | Penn State

nachricht Stopping problem ice -- by cracking it
21.09.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bacterial Nanosized Speargun Works Like a Power Drill

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

The fastest light-driven current source

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Beer can lift your spirits

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>