The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Beneq have signed a long term collaboration agreement for the use of atomic layer deposition (ALD) technologies in printable electronics applications.
The agreement brings together Beneq’s expertise in the field of high precision vacuum coating alongside CPI’s specialist capability in the scale up of printed electronics. Working together, the two organisations will provide world leading capability for the commercialisation of ALD techniques, creating an open access environment for companies to develop ultra barrier solutions in areas such as photovoltaics, OLEDs, microelectronics and sensors.
The collaboration agreement follows on from CPI’s recent installation of two atomic layer deposition tools from Beneq for the development of conformal nano-scale coatings; one batch ALD tool and one state of the art roll-to-roll ALD ( R2R ALD) system. In particular the roll-to-roll ALD tool processing technology will be actively developed between the two companies.
Speaking of the collaboration Alf Smith, Business Development Manager at CPI says:
“The partnership between Beneq and CPI means that we will be able to constantly refine and optimise our capability and associated processes over the coming years to ensure that we remain a world leader in atomic layer deposition coatings. Through this strategic alliance, the continuing developments will give us the flexibility to constantly meet and exceed the demands of our diverse customer requirements.”
Dr Mikko Söderlund, Head of Industrial Solutions at Beneq adds:
“Beneq and CPI share a vision of the enabling role of atomic layer deposition in flexible electronics. CPI’s personnel are skilled in using the Beneq ALD equipment so this partnership is a natural continuation to the work we have already carried out together. Combining CPI’s extensive process capabilities with our know-how of ALD equipment and industrial ALD production allows us to achieve more. Pilot-scale operation and rapid prototyping with our equipment provides Beneq with invaluable information on system performance, and our customers benefit from an established R&D platform and – in the end – faster time to market with ALD applications.”
ALD is applied as a specialist barrier coating technique used for the protection of optoelectronic devices and is being utilised by CPI to add moisture ultra-barrier protection layers to flexible polymer substrates used to produce optoelectronic devices using sensitive active electronic materials. Thin films produced using the ALD method are cost efficient, defect free and completely conformal, thus providing superior barriers and surface passivation compared with other deposition techniques. These properties make them ideal for numerous kinds of critical applications that utilise flexible films such as Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED), flexible display screens, photovoltaic cells and wearable electronics to name but a few. Current commercial barrier films, based on multilayer laminates are typically prohibitively expensive for large area applications while single thin layer barrier structures from ALD deposition have demonstrated the potential to reduce this cost significantly whilst retaining the requisite barrier and flexibility properties.
Further application areas of ALD and R2R ALD will be developed during the collaboration, where conformal nano-scale coatings are beneficial which would include transport, interfacial and contact layers in devices such as OLEDs, PV and sensors for example.