Transparent Conductive Films
Transparent conductive films (TCFs) are used in a variety of applications including touch screens, OLED lighting, organic photovoltaics, smart windows, transparent LED films, heating, and so on.
In this class, we will learn about the different technology options. We will first consider the performance levels, merits as well as shortcoming of the incumbent technologies. Here, we will also consider how the threat of substitutes, price wars, technology transition towards embedded touch are reconfiguring the market.
Next, we will consider a series of emerging alternative technology options such as silver nanowires, metal mesh (photolithography, emboss/fill, print/etch, print/plate, screen printing, gravure printing, inkjet printing, etc), graphene, carbon nanotubes, PEDOT, and so on. In our discussions, we will examine the merits and challenges facing each technology option and review the latest technical and commercial progress from around the world.
Furthermore, we will also consider key applications areas, considering how trends at the application level are changing the requirements such as resistivity and flexibility, and how these requirement changes link to different technology options.
Flexible Barrier Films and Thin Film Encapsulations
Many optoelectronic devices/materials such as OLEDs, OPVs, QDs are highly sensitive to moisture, requiring ultra-high-performance barrier or encapsulation layers. Glass is an excellent barrier, but is rigid, therefore potentially stripping away organic electronics of a key differentiating attribute, which is flexibility.
In this class we will consider the performance requirements for barrier layers by application. Here, we will consider the market drivers for each application and the latest trends in barrier requirements and implementation approaches. We will also consider why it has been so challenging to commercially achieve the required barrier technology.
Next, we will consider a variety of multi-layer barrier film technologies by different companies, considering the performance levels achieved, the production challenges faced, and the evolution of the deposition processes thus far.
We will then consider how the film approach has evolved towards direct thin film encapsulation (TFE). For TFE itself we will consider the commercial uptake so far and examine how various technology evolutions have enabled thinner and lower cost implementations.
We will then consider atomic layer deposition (ALD). Here, we consider how the switch towards spatial ALDs is helping boost productivity whilst achieving high performance with ultra-thin single layers. We then consider the challenges of this technology and cover some innovations that seek to address these challenges.
Finally, we will consider flexible glass. Here, we offer a detailed assessment of the merits of flexile glass. We will also outline some of the approaches pursued today to improve the flexibility of flexible glass and to enable better handling.
Substrates are also an essential and often neglected layer for printed and/or organic electronics. They bring robustness and enable flexibility, but at the same time place substantial constraints on the manufacturing process (e.g., thermal budget, dimensional stability) in a way that they can largely determine device performance. Many plastic solutions are now being offered such as PET and PEN but also paper-based substrates are increasingly gaining attention.