The Holst Centre an R&D facility sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders is another step closer to fast roll to roll (R2R) manufacturing of flexible OLEDs, OPVs and Smart Packaging. A new R2R sintering platform for fast and low temperature curing of printed conductive structures has been developed by the Centre which will also advance R2R manufacturing for smart packaging.
High web speeds and low temperatures are key elements for R2R manufacturing of plastic electronics. The sintering platform uses a new photonic sintering process, developed by Holst Centre, which heats only the printed target material rather than the whole carrier substrate. The tool can sinter printed conductive structures in less than a second, which is already enabling a fast throughput speed of over 5 meters/minute.
It also works at significantly lower temperatures than traditional sintering techniques, preventing distortion of the carrier substrates and reducing energy costs.
"Initial results from the sintering platform have been very good," said Erwin Meinders, program manager Printed Conductive Structures at Holst Centre. "The tool will be used to further advance the developed photonic sintering technology and to investigate new low-temperature sintering techniques and materials, such as next generation copper inks."
Holst Centre started development of a complete R2R testing line two years ago. The line now includes printing, coating, drying and lamination stages in addition to the new sintering unit. A vacuum deposition stage is currently in development.
Image: Screen printed structures on foil, processed with a conductive silver paste and sintered on Holst Centre's proprietary tool in only a few seconds.
Source: Holst Centre
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