Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - NANOCHROMICS (Development of advanced electronic paper-like display technologies)

Electrochromic displays are in the focus of industrial research, as there is a growing interest in thin, versatile and low-power displays for novel applications. Electrochromic substances reversibly change colour through electron transfer and, in its simplest form, an electrochromic display consists of two electrodes, one of them transparent, and an electrolyte, with the electrochromic material being either dissolved in the electrolyte or bound to one of the electrodes. Novel material combinations allow for the innovation of electrochromic displays, which are flexible and have the visual impact of ink on paper.

NTERA is the leading developer of advanced, fully printable electrochromic materials enabling display and colour change applications for smart cards, smart packaging and smart objects. As our research facility evolved into development and engineering during the growth of the company, the project was intended to re-establish a research function with an international, multidisciplinary and innovative team of experienced researchers.

During the four years of the project, a total of six fellows from four different countries worked with NTERA, three of which were then employed on regular contracts. The fellows were employed from different disciplines addressing all features of electrochromic display research, i.e. the electrochromic substances themselves, analysed by an organic chemist, the nanocrystalline electrode and substrate materials, by an inorganic chemist and materials scientist, the electrolyte, by an electrochemist, and the analysis of the combined system, performed by a physical chemist.

With the combined interdisciplinary skill set of the fellows we could redefine all aspects of process technology and product definition. A regular exchange of knowledge with our engineers and the implementation of research results into the manufacturing process allowed for continuous feedback and redefinition of targets. The project fellows were able to experience the development and commercialisation of the results of their work. The intellectual property gained by this research was published as patent applications. Two patents were granted, 18 patent applications and 1 provisional application were pursued, in which fellows were named as co-inventors, or remained, in case necessary, confidential to the company.

The most significant achievement of the research fellows was the development of novel device architectures during the third period of this project. In a relatively short time, a new architecture for thin, flexible displays on plastic was defined. A process scheme was established which allowed for the manufacturing of the devices by printing multiple layers onto a single substrate. This successful milestone was founded on the knowledge which was gathered during the first two periods of this project and was made possible by the individual contributions of the researchers towards single components as well as the combined interdisciplinary expertise which made the complex device work.

The research work then focussed on optimising the flexible, printable displays by identifying new components with enhanced properties and improving the parameters for the manufacturing process. This research work was fuelled by feedback from industrial partners, and the devices were at a commercialisation stage by the time of the project completion.

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