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Advanced high-resolution printing of organic Transistors for Large Area Smart Surfaces

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ATLASS (Advanced high-resolution printing of organic Transistors for Large Area Smart Surfaces)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2016-09-01 do 2018-12-31

ATLASS project, funded by the European Commission wants to push forward the printed organic electronics on flexible substrate through a major technology jump driving the size of printed circuits, transistors and thus sensors to smaller scales, towards micro and nano scale, still with high performance and high definition.

ATLASS takes this huge step by bringing high resolution technologies to the printing industries for the demonstration of products in high impact markets.

Printed organic electronics require new multifunctional high-performing inks (semiconductor mobility >1cm2/Vs, dielectrics, ferroelectrics) and high-resolution (down to 500nm and ~100nm thickness) and go through specific Roll-to-Roll and Sheet-to-Sheet printing processe, including nano-imprinting and gravure printing.

These specific printing processes are being engineered and scaled-up on pre-industrial lines across Europe, and will seek to produce high performance devices (speed ~ 10 MHz).

In order to ensure high quality and high yield in the production process, in-line control and novel automatic optical inspection tools and methodologies are being studied and be installed to ramp-up the yield of developed processes (>99%). It will enable a production in broader quantities, and thus diminish the fabrication cost of advanced circuits (>1000 transistors, 50 kHz clock rate).

The technology capability is benchmarked with conventional organic electronics process and will be demonstrated with four applications in the field of Interactive objects and Sensing surfaces :
- A temperature tag for food packaging should be able to display the current temperature of the conditioning, showing the food is kept in non degraded condition
- Electronics labelling for logistics will help track packages and objects in warehouses
- Force sensing foils will help improve the crash test measurments in automotive safety design
- Proximity or touch sensing for human-robot will help improve cobotics and interaction in industrial or daily-life applications.

The main objectives of the project are to :
- identify new inks and ferroelectric fluoropolymer in order to improve teh quality and purity of the materials, thus improving the reproducitibility of the fabrication (stability, reliability) and increase the produced volumes
- lower the size of printed features of electronics through roll-to-roll and sheet-to-sheet printing processes
- improve the circuit yield and quality and lower the defectivity by improving the optical inspection tools
- improve the self-aligniment techniques during the process of building up and printing the transistors
- demonstrate large area printed sensors, typically integrated in a passive-matrix front-plane with obvious limitations – that will profit from the combination with the ATLASS high-performance OTFT active-matrix backplanes in terms of unambiguous pixel addressing, fast switching, crosstalk reduction and high signal-to-noise ratio level (>10dB).
At M24, due to technical bottlenecks, the project Introduced a change of concept: the AT_4000TG. The Top Gate process (instead of Bottom Gate initially planned) is a full S2S process develop by CEA had, at this time, the best technical chances to achieve full yield optimisation and demonstrator production, and hence the project demonstrators.


Below are the major activities performed in the 2nd period of the ATLASS project:

-- Materials:
AT_4000 route :
- Inks have fully developed with fixed parameters and tested by MERCK;
- MDA developed a scale-up methodology and began scale-up.

AT_2000 :
- Inks have been formulated and performances assessed by MERCK;
- MDA developed a scale-up methodology and began scale-up.

AT_800:
- No ink has been developed for AT_800.

Pyroelectric materials:
- ARK provided different P(VDF-TrFE) formulations to JR and frontplane users;
- Scale-up has been initiated by ARK.


-- Printing process: AT_4000, AT_2000 and AT_800
- OTFT fabrication by R2R process self-aligned has not been achieved;
- Tooling has been developed and provided (GRT and AMO);
- AT_4000 R2R process proof of concept has been achieved at the end of the project. However the yield has not been achieved;
- Each step of the AT_2000 R2R process have demonstrated their viability, although it has not been possible to run the full process;
- AT_800 printability has been evaluated.

-- Printing process: AT_4000TG and CEM design
- AT_4000TG process has been achieved successfully and OTFT has been provided to end-users for the demonstrators;
- Tooling has been developed and provided (GRT and AMO);
- CEM design has been developed by TUE.


-- Characterisation & in-line control:
- AOI has been installed and developed for S2S process at CEA;
- AOI has not been installed for R2R process. However, R2R foils have been evaluated by ICS with CEA AOI.


-- Demonstration scenarios and fabrication:
- Specifications for Smart printed temperature sensor, Printed intelligent label, Printed pressure sensor, Printed pyroelectric sensor have been set;
- Each of the four demonstrators has been achieved at the end of the project;
- LCA has been performed on each of the demonstrators.
Because of the AT_4000TG process, the impacts of the project have been changed. The status is the following:
• Inks producers (MERCK, ARKEMA and MDA) are in line with expected results and will be able to deploy the materials;
• Tools providers (GRT and AMO) are also in line with expected results and will be able to deploy the innovation;
• Optical inspection provider (ICS) suffered from the back-up plan and AOI tools need to be stabilize on AT_4000TG and AT_4000 processes;
• R2R AT_4000, AT_2000 and AT_800 processes are not exploitable. Additional research projects need to be led in order to bring these processes to expected TRL as planned initially;
• S2S AT_4000TG process (CEA) demonstrated promising results. However, considering the timing, this process will require further actions to be stable and reproducible (between 6 months and one year);
• CEM design on AT_4000TG by TUE is ready for exploitation and will support AT_4000TG deployment;
• AT_4000TG (OTFT backplane and functional material like PVDF:TRFE) based products have been demonstrated (JR, AMO, FE, TFE, SHADOW and CONCEPT). However, the delays taken in the ATLASS project is not enabling direct exploitation as industrialization and scale-up actions are needed (setting-up of industrial viable pilot lines) to begin commercialization of such products. Likewise, first results and evaluation of the proximity sensor didn’t show a clear advantage on robotic applications because of market demand and first costs evaluations.

Likewise, it must be noted that some results of the project are currently being implemented and exploited in other H2020 project (like SiMBiT GA number 824946).

The market targeted by ATLASS is still relevant and very promising. Global organic electronics market is expected to thrive at 28.9% CAGR over the forecast period 2017-2024 . The market will be driven by display and sensors needs. Organic electronic and OTFT are enabling truly flexible electronic compared to current technologies and ATLASS demonstrated that electrical performances are in ad equation with the market. These technologies are also resulting in lower manufacturing costs.