Transparent Conductive Optical (TCO) layers are used in two large applications, in Liquid Crystal Displays and in Solar Cells. Although these layers have excellent properties (resistance of 10 ohm/sq and transmissions above 90%), their applications are limited by the costs of the used process steps: sputtering, lithography, and etching. Cost reduction will encourage the availability of solar energy and decrease the costs of flat panel displays. The typical layer values which have to be realized are a resistance of 6 15 Ohm/sq and a transparency of90 98%. For the display application a fine line pattern has to be realized down to 10 mm lines and gaps of 10 mm. At present, three main TCO preparation techniques capable of producing the requirements mentioned are used: Sputtering, Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD), and Pyrosol Spray. All these techniques produce homogeneous layers which have to be patternised by lithography and etching. The market for TCO covered glass is mainly dominated by the Japanese Industry, e.g. Nippon Sheet Glass and Asahi. To date, no one can manufacture sintered, patterned layers economically. The ability to print the required patterns and sinter at a relatively low temperature will be of enormous benefit. For these reasons a new technology has to be developed, based on a totally new concept. This new concept will have many benefits. cheaper process:
-cost reduction no etching;
- environmental benefit in house processes;
- social benefit decreased energy need;
- environmental benefit increased processed area;
- increased market share.
Results of the project will be:
1. A new, NANO SIZED POWDER with extremely good sintering behaviour ata relatively low sintering temperature, yielding excellent conductivity and transparency;
2. A reliable, LOW COSTPRINTING PROCESS, enabling printing of very accurate and fine patterns (LINES AND GAPS OF 10 mm) on a LARGE AREA(0. 7m2);
3. A new effective SINTERING PROCESS AT LOW (~200 to 250 C max)TEMPERATURES;
4. IN HOUSE PROCESSING for end users of transparent conductive layers.
In the last phase of the project, the PRlNTRACON system will be demonstrated in a pilot line to test the reliability and flexibility in industrial surroundings, and to demonstrate the capabilities of the new technology. The total direct and indirect economical benefits of the project amount to at least 100MECU/year for full implementation in European industry. The Consortium comprises the complete chain: Philips a leading manufacturer in the World Electronics Industry, with great experience in printing and sintering; BP Solar the World leader in Solar Cell technology; H.C. Starck the World leader in the development and supply of ceramic and metal powders; FPD Europe's main producer of flat panel LCD displays; Simmel the only European supplier of precision offset printers; Reeves a European supplier of offset blankets; University of Uppsala well experienced in the chemistry of thin films and ceramic substrates.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
5656 AA Eindhoven
RH10 2RR Crawley
751 21 Uppsala