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High-definition printing of multifunctional materials


Specific challenge:

A range of industrial processes (e.g. roll to roll, sheet to sheet) exist for high volume manufacturing involving flexible substrates. The use of these processes has widened from paper and textiles to advanced multi-layer coatings and/or stacks, and to new industries with applications e.g. in electrical circuits, electronic components and bio-functional constructs, comprising integrated combinations of several printed multifunctional materials. Currently there is significant interest on the part of manufacturers in adapting these high throughput technologies for the miniaturisation of feature sizes to the nanoscale, which would provide a new and disruptive manufacturing technology. There is a need to develop high speed, high resolution print technologies, integrating several materials aiming at material properties comparable or better than what is achievable with traditional manufacturing techniques.


Proposals should address industrial needs by developing and demonstrating in relevant industrial environments high throughput printing technologies (possibly in combination with other deposition technologies) with higher definitions (down to nanoscale) utilising a wider spectrum of multifunctional materials. Technical challenges relate to developing suitable printing technologies for high resolution and a wide range of materials; achieving high overlay registration accuracy, especially for multi-material applications; and obtaining the right functionality after drying/sintering.

Pilot line setting should be used to verify production speed and reliability, as well as sufficient yield, quality and functionality of the intended application.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Wherever possible, proposers could actively seek synergies, including possibilities for funding, with relevant national / regional research and innovation programmes and/or cumulative funding with European Structural and Investment Funds in connection with smart specialisation strategies. For this purpose the tools provided by the Smart Specialization Platform, Eye@RIS3 may be useful1. The initial exploitation and business plans will address such synergies and/or additional funding. Exploitation plans, outline financial arrangements and any follow-up will be developed further during the project. The results of these activities as well as the envisaged further activities in this respect should be described in the final report of the project.

The implementation of this proposal is intended to start at TRL 4-5, target TRL 6. Implemented as cross-KET activities.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 5 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

  • Significant improvements in industrial productivity and cost competitiveness in comparison with traditional processes, such as lithography, verified in a pilot line setting in terms of production speed and reliability, as well as sufficient yield, quality and functionality of the intended application;
  • Contribution to improved resource efficiency, safety and environmental friendliness of high throughput printing processes and related products (e.g. aiming at fully degradable products);
  • Contribution to improved technical knowledge on printing of functional materials at the nanoscale, leading to new products and creating market opportunities for European industries;
  • Identification of gaps in standards, paving the way for future pre-normative activities in the field.
  • Promoting safe-by-design approaches in collaboration with the EU nano-safety cluster and contributing towards the framework of EU nanosafety and regulatory strategies2.

Type of action: Innovation Actions

[1]; the relevant Managing Authorities can be found at

[2] EU Nano-safety strategy 2015-2020 and NanoReg project