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Ultra-versatile Structural PRINTing of amorphous and tuned crystalline matter on multiple substrates

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - SPRINT (Ultra-versatile Structural PRINTing of amorphous and tuned crystalline matter on multiple substrates)

Reporting period: 2021-03-01 to 2023-02-28

Thin film deposition methods are crucial to generate progress in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) of strategic importance for Europe, including Advanced Materials, Nanotechnology, Micro- and Nanoelectronics, Biotechnology, and Photonics. Devices such as photovoltaic cells, light emitting diodes, electronic and optoelectronic micro-/nano-sensors are prominent examples of thin film applications where the precise control of material deposition and its degree of order (crystallinity) are of paramount importance for their performance and function
However, technologies for thin film deposition have very limited capacity to tune crystallinity of the materials deposited, at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, or to create functional 3D architectures, in a single and versatile manner. The requirement of high temperatures and vacuum conditions make them inherently costly and unsuitable for deposition on various substrates (e.g. plastics). Moreover, their dimensions are not compatible with miniaturization and integration in table-top interfaces that would broaden their potential use. These limitations restrain the development of ground-breaking functional materials and new-conceptual devices. All this hampers innovation and the appearance of new and cost-effective marketable products.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to develop a radically new deposition technology allowing: (i) control over the chemical and physical properties of the materials to be deposited in thin films, which can lead to the development of new advanced materials and devices; (ii) deposition of functional 3D architectures without multistep protocols, to enable the direct printing of 2D/3D functional devices and structures; (iii) deposition of a large variety of materials at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, to offer increased capabilities and significant reductions in fabrication costs.
The work has progressed according to the stablished in the Gantt chart but with delays imposed by the COVID19 pandemic. Most of the work has been carried out in WP3 for the development of the SPRINT prototype. Intensive work has also been carried in WP4 to develop technologies and materials compatible with the SPRINT technology. The prototype is now installed at the CNRS premises and functioning. Work has as well continued in WP1and WP2 to further optimize and expand the results already obtained in the previous RPs. The different exploitation and dissemination activities can be found in the project web site: https://www.project-sprint.com/
The SPRINT project will develop a universal deposition technology of amorphous and tuned crystalline matter on multiple substrates, at room temperature and pressure. This technology will be completelly new and not only combines the benefits of existing advanced deposition methods, at significantly lower cost and higher deposition rates, but also goes beyond the state-of-the-art in advanced materials development, to open new roadmaps to a plethora of future devices and applications.
Cover of a paper describing a preliminary proof of concept of the SPRINT technology
Cover of a paper published jointly by ETH and CNRS
cover of a paper reporting the open-air deposition of SiOx