Eastman Kodak Co. and the Conductive Polymers Division of Heraeus Precious Metals GmbH & Co. KG, have achieved a major technological advance in the development of transparent conductive films for projected capacitive touch screens.
The companies have jointly announced that they have created a projected capacitive touch screen with Kodak HCF-225 Film/ESTAR™ Base as the transparent conductive component featuring completely invisible patterns, marking a change in the manufacturing of touch screen displays for handsets and tablet devices.
The invisible patterning process utilizes Heraeus component technologies, whereby a conductive pattern is screen printed onto Kodak HCF-225 Film/ESTAR™ Base using Clevios™ SET S - a masking polymer. Clevios™ Etch is then used to create the non-conductive areas. After the process is completed, the masking polymer that protected the conductive pattern is removed.
The result is a touch screen manufactured according to standard industry practices that provides improved touch performance, flexibility, stability, transparency, reduced haze and neutral color profile - as a cost-effective alternative to patterned indium tin oxide (ITO) films.
"Today's PEDOT films are up to 100 times more conductive than they were 10 years ago," said John Bayley, European Sales & Marketing Manager for Heraeus Precious Metals GmbH & Co. KG's Conductive Polymers Division. "Polymer systems have the advantage over ITO films, which are known to be brittle. The revolutionary films from Kodak bring flexibility and functionality for device designers."
"Further, the new Clevios™ Etch technology from Heraeus enables conductive lines to be patterned as invisible traces, and this feature has been effectively demonstrated in the projected capacitive design and in LED displays on curved substrates," Bayley said.
"The advent of invisible patterning technology enables PEDOT-based films to satisfy the design goals of smart phone and tablet makers in markets that require very high optical clarity and multi-touch response," said Dr. Stephan Kirchmeyer, Head of the Functional Coatings Business Unit from Heraeus Conductive Polymers Division. "The market can now access a complete system that provides patterned transparent conductive films with enhanced performance at lower cost compared with current material sets and processes."
"Kodak and Heraeus have developed a highly conductive Clevios™ PEDOT:PSS formulation that when coated on Kodak's ESTARTM film base makes highly transparent conductive and flexible films that offer great utility in many markets where either touch capabilities or light, flexible, conductive films add value and create design flexibility," said Brian Marks, General Manager, Functional Printing, Eastman Kodak Company. He added that the advantages of this technology in manufacturing are significant.
"The cost and performance of this new technology opens the door to the production of a new generation of touch screens built for electronic devices using high volume web coating manufacturing processes," Marks said. "It is positioned to utilize in-line patterning processes creating substantial cost advantages compared to the sputtering and patterning techniques required in the manufacture of ITO films."
Dr. Kirchmeyer predicted that "in the near future we will see touch screens in almost every electronic device. As the performance of these devices continues to advance and the cost continues to fall, they are poised to change the way that people interact with a whole array of devices," Dr. Kirchmyer said. "Just about any technology in which a person needs to interact with an electronic or a mechanical device could gain a real advantage by adopting touch screen technology.
"This growth will require a touch screen technology that is both more advanced and more economical. With the new highly conductive Clevios™ technology on Kodak's films we have taken a big step forward," Dr. Kirchmeyer said.
For more information, visit http://www.kodak.com/go/img and visit the Conductive Polymers Division of Heraeus at www.clevios.com .
For more attend: Printed Electronics Europe 2012}.