Two of the main challenges in the development and further adoption of flexible electronics have been the sensitivity to moisture and oxygen of active materials, leading to stringent requirements for permeation and the need to replace expensive, brittle ITO, the most popular choice as a transparent conductive layer. A lot of work has been going in the development of materials and alternative options that could facilitate further growth of the flexible electronics industry and some of the main developers of these technologies will be present at IDTechEx's Printed Electronics USA 2011in Santa Clara, CA, on November 30-December 1.
Barrier Layers: Vitriflex - TeraBarrier
Even though the clean technologies sector has seen its ups and downs in recent months, in the 3rd quarter of 2011 results for clean technology venture investments around the globe totalled $2.23 billion according to Cleantech, a company monitoring investment in sustainable energy sectors.
For the first time, energy storage was the leading sector by amount invested ($514 million), followed by solar ($350 million) and energy efficiency ($223 million).
One of the deals was for Vitriflex, a company spun out of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) module developer NuvoSun. The company's barrier film has recently achieved a water permeation rate of 10-4 g/m2/day at 100% relative humidity, a level of permeation that offers adequate lifetime for flexible CIGS modules.
Back in October, TeraBarrier Films, another developer of flexible barrier layers, announced that some of its key customers who tested its barrier films under accelerated lifetime testing determined that TeraBarrier's films doubles their device lifetimes.
Testing conducted by TeraBarrier's customers showed a consistent linear performance, allowing the device to maintain a steady performance over time. The company's product has been independently tested and reported on three different flexible photovoltaic technologies, namely CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide), OPV (Organic Photovoltaics) and DSSC (Dye Sensitized Solar Cells).
ITO Replacement: Cambrios- Hitachi Chemical
Working on a different challenge, ITO replacement, that would allow for flexible form factors as ITO tends to be brittle, Cambrios Technologies Corporation announced earlier in the year that the company's ClearOhm silver nanowire coating materials have been combined with Hitachi Chemical's photosensitive film technology to develop a very highly transparent conductive film that can be transferred to various substrates such as glass, polycarbonate and PET film.
Hitachi Chemical plans to produce significant volumes by mid-2012 in order to meet the increasing demand for transparent conductive films for touch panels for smart phones and tablet PCs.
The flexible film will be available in a wide range of conductivities with sheet resistance of 10-250Ohm/sq. and total transmission, including substrate, of 85-91%. High resolution patterns can be made using a simple light exposure and develop process, eliminating costly process steps such as applying resist, etching, and stripping. The film may be used to create highly flexible and invisible patterns applicable to standard projective capacitive touch panels as well as emerging designs on curved and 3D surfaces.
TeraBarrier and Vitriflex, as well as Cambrios, will be presenting their technology developments in Santa Clara, CA on the 30th of November and the 1st of December, during the IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA conference and tradeshow, the biggest conference in the world covering flexible electronics technologies. Hitachi Chemical will also be presenting, but on a different topic: the development of Copper inks and pastes for printed electronics applications Printed Electronics USA 2011.
Over 90 speakers (representing global companies including MWV, Boeing, OSRAM Sylvania, Stora Enso and Toppan Forms), 110 exhibitors and 1200 attendees make this event the focal point for the flexible electronics industry and a not to be missed opportunity to find out latest developments and network with the movers and shakers on these emerging technologies.
For more attend: Printed Electronics USA 2011