The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is involved in a European project to find a solution to the damaging effect of nano defects on flexible electronics. The €7.25 million project is led by the University of Huddersfield, and NPL will be involved in measurements of surface topography and defect geometry with the use of optical, including super-resolution, techniques.
If the European manufacturing economy is going to capitalise on the growing market for flexible electronics, a solution to the problem of defects is an urgent one.
New technologies such as flexible solar modules and digital displays are vulnerable to the everyday elements of our environment, and the coating used to protect them is less effective the more defects it contains.
The defects, which can take the form of contamination by fine dust particles or pin holes, are up to one hundred thousand times finer than a human hair and allow gas to squeeze through, damaging the efficiency and lifespan of the device underneath.
The scientists addressing this problem, as a part of the NanoMend project, are developing defect imaging, detection and correction technologies that will be designed for use in the high-speed manufacturing of these new products.
NanoMend will establish two working pilot lines. One will be developed for the manufacturing lines of polymer coated paper packaging at Stora Enso, in order to extend the shelf life of drinks in cartons, using less material. This will have the two fold environmental benefits of using fewer resources, and reducing the volume of food that needs to thrown away.
The other will be for the manufacturing lines of leading Swiss manufacturer of flexible solar modules, Flisom, where it will be used to detect and correct defects within the various layers that constitute a solar module, in order to increase its efficiency, lifespan and consequently its economic viability for the consumer.
For more information about this project, visit www.nanomend.eu
Find out more NPL's Surface Topography work
Contact: Richard Leach