Nanoimprinted structures and components are being used in items such as anti-reflection films, and solar cells. However, their impact in consumer products is limited as viable manufacturing processes to scale-up the production of such nanostructures is lacking. IMRE and its partners in ICON are planning to manufacture the structures, using a roll to roll process. This fast, mass production method can create large area nanostructured components, opening the way for new consumer applications not previously conceptualised or economically feasible.
Roll-to-roll imprinting is the third industry-themed project by ICON that includes local and international partners such as Solves Innovative Technology Pte Ltd (Singapore), Advanced Technologies and Regenerative Medicine, LLC (ATRM) (USA), Young Chang Chemical Co. Ltd (South Korea), EV Group (Austria), Micro Resist Technology GmbH (Germany) and NTT Advanced Technology Corporation (Japan). The partners who are raw material providers, tool-makers, and end-users represent the entire value chain for producing nano-structures and putting them to use. Some of the applications that the consortium hopes to harness with roll-to-roll nanoimprint include anti-fouling surfaces, anti-reflection films to enhance the efficiency of solar cells, wire-grid polarisers, and optical films for flat panel displays.
“The roll-to-roll nanoimprinting technique is a crucial centerpiece in ICON’s plan to complete the value chain for harnessing the true potential of our bio-mimetic multifunctional nanoimprint technology surfaces”, said Dr Low Hong Yee, an IMRE senior scientist who heads the team developing the roll-to-roll nanoimprint technology. “With this method we can merge nanoimprint technologies into real-world applications and on an industrial scale”, explained Dr Low, adding that the engineered materials that are produced can be made for a variety of applications. For example, nanostructures can be used to mimic patterns of surfaces found in nature to endow the synthetic surfaces with properties such as inherent colour effects, tack-free adhesion to surfaces, water-proofing and anti-reflectivity.
ICON will be introducing two types of roll-to-roll techniques - a thermal and a UV-based version. The thermal method makes patterns on the substrate directly, can accommodate a variety of plastics for different applications, and is ideally suited for the fabrication of micro- and nano-fluidic devices, biochemical assays as well as other biomedical applications. The UV technique allows quicker processing because it is a room temperature process, and offers the advantage of fabricating the nanostructures on cross-linkable resins, thus imparting higher thermal and mechanical stability to the imprinted products.
“The joint collaborative work with ICON to design and build the first roll-to-roll thermal nanoimprinting machine gives us the chance to work with other industry partners on how this equipment can be applied”, commented Mr Hermann Waltl, Executive Sales and Customer Support Director of EV Group, whose global headquarters is in Austria, on the roll-to-roll thermal nanoimprinter that the company has jointly developed with ICON.
“ICON provides us the opportunity to hear directly from industry about their needs so that we can customise future roll-to-roll equipment designs to specific industry requirements. ICON is all about transitioning scalable nanoimprinting techniques out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. Roll-to-roll strategies certainly fit the bill here. A lot of companies are watching the progress closely”, said Mr Koh Teng Hwee, Managing Director of Solves, a small and medium enterprise that had worked with IMRE to develop the roll-to-roll UV nanoimprinting tool.
“This partnership on roll-to-roll nanoimprinting enhances our competitiveness in the global arena, particularly in helping us create new functional and patterned film technologies for displays and solar cell applications”, said Mr Kim Woo Yong, Global Marketing Director of Young Chang Chemical Co. Ltd, South Korea.
“We are happy to be involved in this groundbreaking project that will bring a new dimension to our core business and help us develop materials for a greater variety of markets and industries,” said Mrs Gabi Gruetzner, Managing Director of Micro Resist Technology GmbH (Germany), a company that specialises in providing photoresists and polymers for micro and nanolithography.
ICON is Singapore’s first nanotechnology consortium that encourages companies to adopt versatile, industry-ready nanoimprinting technology that can bring products to the market through sustainable manufacturing. Nanoimprint technology produces nanometer-sized structures of greater complexity using fewer processing steps, while minimising wastage of materials. It has evolved from a lithography technology for the semiconductor industry to a platform process technology that can be adapted to a wide range of applications. The members of ICON will gain first-hand access to these new technologies by working on joint projects to develop new products and applications that can potentially have huge savings in R&D.For media enquiries, please contact:
A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, and with other local and international partners. For more information about A*STAR, please visit www.a-star.edu.sg.
Robust and functional – surface finishing by suspension spraying
19.09.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Keramische Technologien und Systeme IKTS
Graphene and other carbon nanomaterials can replace scarce metals
19.09.2017 | Chalmers University of Technology
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
20.09.2017 | Life Sciences
20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy