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XTPL - A new generation of TCF layers for use in displays and thin film photovoltaic cells

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - XTPL (XTPL - A new generation of TCF layers for use in displays and thin film photovoltaic cells)

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

One of biggest struggle of TCF producers is an accessibility to raw materials and the cost-effective production technologies. The most commonly used TCF is ITO – indium-tin oxide – which is characterized by sufficient transparency (optical transmission of 85%) and electrical conductivity (resistance surface 60-80 Ohm/sq.). However this material has many drawbacks. First of all, ITO layers contain scarce chemical element – indium, whose global resources are estimated in a range from 11 thousand tones to as much as 95 thousand tones . Scarcity of indium results in a strong variation and increase of its price, what is unfavorable for TCF producers. Second problem relates to the development of flexible electronics. ITO easily loses electrical conductivity when bended. It triggered research programs around the world aiming at finding new TCFs. In our Project we propose second to none currently known solution that is printing the extra thin lines within electric field (XTPL).
It important for society for three reasons related to three fields of application. In displays we increase the quality of the equipment (e.g. size of a screen, image brightness) lowering cost at the same time. We also enhance the development of flexible electronics reducing one of the most important hurdles (flexible TCF). In photovoltaics we increase efficiency of thin film photovoltaic cells. By this we promote clean energy what leads environment improvement. We also open new areas, not fully know yet, where our technology can be utilized with social benefit. For example we can fix broken electric circuits in very cheap way reducing waste.
Overall objective is to implement XTPL technology to the market. We want to achieve it in the three step approach: 1. Finishing and sale of laboratory XTPL printers. 2. Finishing and sale of industrial printers. 3. Implementations at the customers’ sites and sale of nanoink.
During SME Instrument Phase I we have achieved the following results:
• We have managed to upscale printing area from 1x1 cm2 to 2,5x2,5 cm2.
• We have bought the professional report Transparent Conductive Films (TCF) 2015-2025: Forecasts, Markets, Technologies from IDTECH Ex which helped us to better understand our market.
• We have had a survey conducted (also be IDTECH Ex), which allowed to gather first-hand information from 438 respondents and initially inform market about XTPL.
• We have filled the second patent application.
• We have chosen the stock broker and closed the roadshow among investors – we have secured the financial side of the Project.
• We visited the most important European trade fairs “Connecting Emerging Technologies With Global Brands”, where Filip Granek had been asked to give a lecture about the future of TCF.
• We took part in Hannover Messe.
• We held few strategic advisory sessions with a coach in a total of 24 hours.
• We were qualified to SME Instrument’s Overseas Trade Fairs. Thanks to this on 19-20 September we will be able to visit TechInnovation trade fairs in Singapore.
• We have made all necessary preparations for the SME Instrument Phase II which are summarized in Feasibility Study and Business Plan.
Our printing method and films obtain with it go beyond the state of the art in few aspects. The most important are:
• XTPL technology allows to obtain the optical transmission in the visible light at the range of T> = 95% (TCF present on the market typically offer T= 85%)
• XTPL technology allows the surface resistance at Rsh <= 5 Ohm/sq. (present on the market TCF typically offer Rsh=60 Ohm/sq.)
• The surface resistance does not change by more than 20% at the bend to an angle of 90%. For ITO angle is 20-30%.
• Estimated cost for XTPL (end user) is 10 $/m2. Currently, the comparable price of ITO layer is approx. 17-18 $/m2.
• Not less than 10 μm position accuracy. It better by few orders of magnitude than currently available solutions can offer.

The expected potential impact is multidimensional:
• The product corresponds to real market needs to reduce the price of final products that use TCFs (PV modules, displays) and the emergence of new end products for which ITO becomes insufficient (flexible electronics, large-sized touch panels, OLED lighting, OPV, DSSC, smart windows). XTPL solves problems of electronics producers. At the same time end users receive better equipment at lower prices. Therefore XTPL has a positive impact on the quality of life.
• Our method is cheaper also because we use natural resources in a more efficient way. For instance we can easily correct spots in conductive films or circuits. Not only we repair electronics using less natural resources but in some cases we give second life to broken devices. It this way our technology has a positive impact on the environment.
• We reduce need for indium which is very scarce and controlled mostly by one country. XTPL technology enables to retain economic independence by countries with less or no indium ore and therefore we have a positive political impact,.
• The product have a strong positive environmental effect. The application of the technology in the photovoltaics sector enhances efficiency of cells and reduces prices. It should encourage more people to use renewable energy sources and promote implementation of the thin cells.