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LTFN: A Success Story

LTFN has been an experience of over 20 years in Thin films Technology, Fabrication of inorganic, organic and hybrid nanostructured materials, Developing/Deploying in-situ & real-time monitoring techniques and in Nanometrology. During these years, LTFN has coordinated several R&D Projects (European and national), which have strengthen its expertise, infrastructure, human potential and collaborations. In the following, the most important R&D Projects are described, that have contributed to the development of the research potential of LTFN in Flexible Organic Electronics.

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"Deployment of in-Situ Optical Monitoring Techniques for Tailoring Thin Film Properties for Specific Advanced Industrial Applications" (ISOTECH)
BRITE EURAM III, BRPR-CT96-0265 (1/97-12/99), Project Coordinator : Prof. S. Logothetidis
(rated by the EC as OUTSTANDING)

The industrial present project is dictated by the current demand of manufacturing companies of razor and industrial blades, bearings and seals and piezoelectric quartz oscillators for improved product and component performance via the use of thin film surface coatings. The coatings materials properties of concern here are hardness, friction thermal and chemical stability, adhesion, fracture strength and wear resistance. Optimisation of these properties may be attained in the candidate coatings, which are single, graded or multilayered DLC- and /or TiNx based thin film structures, through in-situ (during film growth), monitoring and control of their stoichiometry, composition, microstructure and thickness.

For the purpose of in-situ control, a low cost high speed unit based on the Spectroscopic Ellipsometry (SE) technique, is first developed in the project and further developed into a commercially available instrument of distinct competitive advantages. The deposition techniques to be used for the development and production of the surface coatings will be magnetron sputtering and closed film unbalanced magnetron sputtering. The latter will also be developed into a new line of superior industrial deposition systems equipped with the above in-situ monitoring low cost high speed SE (LCHSSE) unit.

ISOTECH with its completion was rated from EC as outstanding and has resulted to the following Technology Transfer of results as shown in CORDIS Technology Marketplace. (Visit this LINK)

1. Deployment of in-situ optical monitoring techniques for tailoring thin film properties for specific advanced industrial applications (ISOTECH)

2. Transparent films vacuum coatings machine with integrated in-line monitoring and control

1 result were given a special promotion on the 'Technology Marketplace'

1. Title: All weather coats

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"Transparent Films Vacuum Coatings Machine with Integrated In-line Monitoring and Control (TransMach)''
GROWTH Project (3/2001 - 4/2004), Project Coordinator : Prof. S. Logothetidis
(rated by the EC as OUTSTANDING)

TransMach is led by current and future needs for packaging films (30 GEuro products in 2001), optical coatings on flexible substrates, solar modules and flexible displays (20 GEuro in 2005), where cost efficient production and high quality transparent coatings by large area vacuum (LAV) machines are the drivers and Europe's difficulties. TransMach in an integrated approach develops an ultra-fast unit to monitor the processes and a method to screen transparent coating properties to demonstrate an intelligent and reliable LAV machinery with in-line control solving the difficulties in: processes (speed 10m/s, moving surfaces, surface cleaning and then coated), technical demands for coatings (defined optical and barrier properties), requirements for material and energy consumption (thickness), repeatability, high quality products and cost reduction.

TRANSMACH with its completion was rated from EC as Outstanding and has resulted to the following Technology Transfer of results as shown in CORDIS Technology Marketplace.

1. A methodology of correlation of optical-intermediate and functional transparent coatings properties

2. A novel Ultra Fast Multi-Wavelength Ellipsometric (UFMWE) unit capable to monitor fast processes

3. Integrated LAV machine (with incorporated UFMWE monitoring units, managed by a LAN) showing intelligent and highly reliable in-line control beyond existing standards in monitoring of the LAV

1 & 3 results were given a special promotion on the 'Technology Marketplace',

1. Improving the optical properties of transparent films

3. Product protection with perfect packaging

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"Ultra-high barrier films for r2r encapsulation of flexible electronics" (FLEXONICS) (http://www.flexonics.org)
STREP Project (2005 - 2008), Project Coordinator : Prof. S. Logothetidis
(selected by the EC as an FP6 Success Story)


Flexible electronic devices (FEDs) will have a major impact in our daily life if they will be encapsulated into transparent, ultra-high barrier, flexible materials, providing protection against oxygen and vapor, long-term stability and endurance. The realization of such materials, compatible with roll-to-roll (r2r) production processes will allow cost effective large scale FEDs production.

FLEXONICS is a STREP Project with the goal to develop:

a) materials systems consisting of alternating inorganic/organic layers few nm thick to improve the current barrier properties of flexible films by at least a factor of 1000,

b) the relative r2r processes, which will be used for the production of such materials,

c) optical & real-time techniques for process control and optimization, with final and specific goal the effective encapsulation of flexible OPV and OLED devices.

The above objectives conform to the NMP activity on "Materials processing by radically innovative technologies". The project will extend the knowledge on hybrid organic/inorganic systems, their interfaces and their optical and barrier properties. New techniques will be developed to measure and model the ultra-low gas permeation.

Finally, the optical properties of the hybrid organic/inorganic layers and the light interaction with complex-structured materials will be studied at the fundamental level.

flexonics1   flexonics3   flexonics2


 



"Development and integration of processes & technologies for the production of Organic Low-cot & large-Area flexible Electronics (OLAtronics)" (http://www.olatronics.org)
STREP Project (2008 - 2011), Project Coordinator : Prof. S. Logothetidis

The objectives of OLAtronics Project are the:

a) Development and optimization of production processes for active and passive materials by establishing an effective combination of vacuum, wet and printing methods to provide materials with advanced properties, performance, stability and lifetime, low-cost and large-area processing,
b) Effective encapsulation of the developed active and passive materials into components, and their large-scale fabrication onto flexible r2r substrates combined to real-time monitoring and control of materials process and quality by in-line optical techniques,
c) Integration of the developed manufacturing technologies into a pilot-scale to allow the low-cost and large-area manufacturing of prototype device demonstrators, ultimately in large scale.


olatronics1  olatronics3  olatronics2

 
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The ROleMak Project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant aggreement no 286022.