Industry Trio Taking Printed Electronics Research Project into Industrial-Scale Phase
The printing press plays a key role in this work. It serves as the platform for modified or completely new printing or coating units and thus as an integrator for the newly developed processes. The demands placed on the printing methods are very high. Being just a few nanometers thick, the printed layers must be extremely homogeneous and free of flaws.
To transfer these highly complex printing processes to a production scale, it is vital to precisely understand the processes that take place in a printing unit itself. Consequently, the Institute for Printing Presses and Printing Methods (IDD) at Technische Universit Darmstadt is working on a model for defining the key production parameters. The researchers are also examining the specific physical mechanisms that can lead to inhomogeneities in the printed organic semiconductor and dielectric layers and thus to the failure of the subsequent product.
Researchers at BASF work on innovative hybrid materials
Printable organic electronics requires entirely new materials, which are developed by BASF experts in the project field of nano-structuring. Specially designed nanoparticles are used as building blocks for functional materials which are built by new process technologies in a tool-box-like system. In a subsequent step, these materials are processed into printable suspensions and tested by the project partners. The researchers rely on innovative hybrid materials consisting of inorganic and organic components allowing for perfect electronic functionality in the printed film.
Over the past three years, new integrated production processes for innovative hybrid materials have been developed in order to avoid intermediate process steps such as stabilization of the materials. The plants constructed for this purpose are able to produce the materials required for the printing tests on a kilogram scale.
In parallel, BASF researchers are developing printable suspensions for organic electronics that can be processed at low temperatures. Again, this is a challenge for material development because the components and their interaction have to be completely newly adjusted to the printing conditions. These materials should enable the production of components on inexpensive flexible polymer foils using the roll-to-roll printing method.
About the Leading-Edge Cluster
The Leading-Edge Cluster “Forum Organic Electronics” is a cooperative network which currently consists of three DAX-listed companies, eight international corporations, five mid-sized companies and eleven research institutes and universities, including two elite universities. The cluster’s goals include achieving the position of international leader as a location for research, development, and production in organic electronics, creating one of the most attractive locations for young researchers, specialists, and managers, and establishing the world’s leading innovation center for knowledge transfer and company start-ups. The 27 companies, universities, and research institutes work jointly on the research projects in the cutting-edge field of organic electronics which are funded by the BMBF to the value of €40 million.