Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New technology for ultra-smooth polymer films

28.06.2018

The Fraunhofer FEP has succeeded in developing a new technology for the production of ultra-smooth polymer films as part of the "OptiPerm" project. This project received funding from the European Union and the Saxony State Ministry of Economics, Labor and Transport (grant agreement no. 3000651169). The technology, which was previously demonstrated on samples in A4 format, has now been successfully transferred to a roll-to-roll process with even higher surface quality. These results were presented for the first time at the AIMCAL conference in Munich, Germany in June 2018 by Dr. Steffen Günther.

Smooth surfaces with low defect densities are of great importance for many application areas, be they decoratively coated vehicle bodies, high-gloss and dirt-resistant furniture, or ultra-smooth metal and plastic films that serve as substrates for high-tech industries. Particularly in latter case, subsequent finishing steps can only exhibit their full potential if the surface quality of the substrate is also at a very high level.


Flexible film substrate of 1.25 meter width at the roll-to-roll coating line „atmoFlex 1250”

© Fraunfofer FEP | Picture in printable resolution: www.fep.fraunhofer.de/press

For example, films for the encapsulation of electronic components need thin permeation barrier layers made by a vacuum coating process that prevent against penetration of oxygen and moisture. Defects on the substrate surface would compromise these thin coatings.

The deposition of active electronic layers, for example for OLEDs or touch screens, requires ultra-smooth surfaces to ensure reliably capabilities such as light emission and conductivity over large-areas.

Scientists at Fraunhofer FEP have now developed a new method for creating ultra-smooth surfaces – dubbed the smoothing-film approach. “This innovative process does not require any special processing environment and could therefore also be used under standard factory conditions,” explains Dr. Steffen Günther, Project Manager at the Fraunhofer FEP. “Expensive clean rooms are not required for this process.”

With this new approach, a wet coating is first applied to a flexible substrate. Immediately afterwards, the coating is covered while still wet with a second film, the smoothing film. Subsequently, the wet coating is cross-linked through the smoothing film by an energetic drying process. An electron beam is used therefore at Fraunhofer FEP due to its high performance regarding cross-linking ratio.

The smoothing film may be lifted off directly after cross-linking or stay on top the coating as a protection until the next downstream processes take place. In order to reduce the costs for the smoothing films, their reusability was examined. The scientists were able to show that even after reusing the smoothing film ten times, no increase in defect density or decrease of surface quality was observed.

The process was initially carried out and evaluated on samples in A4 format. Subsequent is has been transferred to the roll-to-roll coating line “atmoFlex 1250”. This plant was built by the mechanical engineering company 3D-Micromac AG and offers the possibility to coat flexible films of 1.25 meter width in roll-to-roll process at Fraunhofer FEP. The results of the process transfer to roll-to-roll technology even exceeded the expectations by far. Not only was the reproduction of the new smoothing-film approach successful. The test results of the roll-to-roll processed substrates even outperformed those from the A4 samples by a factor of four.

The defect density determined using white-light interferometry was approx. 1%. This corresponds to the defect density of films planarized in expensive clean-room environments.

These positive results can now build the basis for developing further innovative film products with industrial partners. The scientists are already contemplating ways to further improve the technology and also how to transfer it to other areas of application.

This work was partially supported by the European Union and the German State of Saxony within the project OptiPerm (Grant agreement number: 3000651169). OptiPerm is a joint research project with the industrial partners VON ARDENNE GmbH, 3D-Micromac AG, GfE Fremat GmbH and IOT - Innovative Oberflächentechnologien GmbH to do research into the production of functional films with optimized permeation barrier coatings.

Press contact:

Ms. Annett Arnold

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP
Phone +49 351 2586 333 | presse@fep.fraunhofer.de
Winterbergstraße 28 | 01277 Dresden | Germany | www.fep.fraunhofer.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://s.fhg.de/vJq

Franziska Lehmann | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs
06.08.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Analyzing pros and cons of two composite manufacturing methods
04.08.2020 | University of Illinois Grainger College of Engineering

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.

Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rare Earth Elements in Norwegian Fjords?

06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences

Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life

06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel

06.08.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>