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Real-time diagnostics for Enabling Advanced laser-based roll to roll materials Processing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - REAP (Real-time diagnostics for Enabling Advanced laser-based roll to roll materials Processing)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2017-06-30

Problem to be addressed.

Europe needs versatile and sustainable manufacturing processes –where small to medium size enterprises can use light efficiently to make, monitor, and measure on high value-added manufacturing platforms.

The development of scalable processes, incorporating multiple key enabling technologies, remains a key priority for Europe. This projects addresses this challenge of enabling precision laser processes, enabled by real time diagnostics, for applications in large area micro and nano electronics.

Most key technologies to emerge in recent years are based on thin film hetero-structures that are produced on large, sheet to sheet or roll to roll, production systems. These manufacturing platforms are ideally suited to laser processing. The research training project seeks to develop new ultra-short laser processes by investigating real time or in-line process diagnostics.

The project addressed by this research training project is the transformation of a specialist in photonics diagnostics to become an expert in advanced laser structuring of materials by the demonstration of new scalable process and diagnostic technologies.

Importance for society
Europe desperately needs new manufacturing technologies to support high value employment in an increasingly globalised world. The realisation of reconfigurable manufacturing tools, employing cross cutting key enabling technologies such as photonics, advanced materials, and nanotechnology, offer SMEs an opportunities for SMEs to innovate and sustainably compete throughout the European regions thereby ensuring balanced regional development.

The ability of these advanced reconfigurable and scalable manufacturing tools have the potential to realise competitive advantage for manufacturing enterprises pursuing high potential applications.

This project addresses the future use of reconfigurable and scalable ultrashort laser processes applied to the large area electronics sector. It demonstrates how new diagnostic concepts can be applied to develop novel selective laser patterning or laser induced crystallisation processes at the ultimate precision to realise new flexible display technologies for next generation printed electronics.

The overall objectives of this project were:
• To provide strategic training to the Fellow in short pulse laser structuring and camera based diagnostics.
• To develop real time diagnostics at the host laboratory for short pulse lasers.
• To develop new process concepts from applying process diagnostics.
• To apply two process diagnostics to next generation roll to roll or sheet to sheet manufacturing platforms.
• To communicate and disseminate new research findings efficiently, throughout teams in Host and partner sites, and through industrial/ scientific communities.
Work in this project began with a technology review; Two maps for value chains were developed for laser micromachining and camera based diagnostics. These stakeholder maps familiarised the Fellow with the current challenge of laser-enabled printed electronics and confirmed the technical workprogramme for the project.
The development of process diagnostics for monitoring the laser structuring processes, based on optical emission (laser induced breakdown spectroscopy -LIBS) and Raman Scattering were demonstrated using three case studies based on indium tin oxide ablation, selective pattering of metallic hetero-structures, and selective removal of silver nanowires and graphene from glass substrates. The deployment of these diagnostics identified new improved processes for precision photomechanical structuring of thin films, glasses and the crystallisation of materials. Finally the project applied process concepts for selectively patterning indium tin oxide for colour filter liquid crystal and OLED displays.
The project has progressed the state of the art by the creation of a new proprietary crystallisation process relevant to thin film transistors (TFTs). This offers the potential to increase the electronic conductivity, thereby optimising their performance.
The project has demonstrated the ability to create new sub-micron gratings on glass and thin film materials in a reconfigurable, single step, scalable process. This has the potential to create new functionalities for diffractive optics based on roll to roll or sheet to sheet processes.
The project has demonstrated the importance of nano-structured enabled coupling of laser energy to materials with nano-scale precision. It has highlighted the potential to structure materials using photomechanical fracture, with minimal damage to the sub-surface adjacent material.
The project has identified the significant scope for use of an in-line Raman Scattering probe to monitor the surface post laser structuring.
Nanostructure-enabled selective photo mechanical ablation with minimal damage to subsurface substrat