National Physical Laboratory

Organic Electronics Emerging Electronics

Emerging electronics makes use of novel materials and novel manufacturing processes to create electronic devices that can be easily integrated into a wide range of products: from large area flexible electronics to wearables and implantable electronic devices. Understanding the impact of processing on material properties and device performance/reliability is critical.

2011-2014

Project Title: Advanced metrology for enhanced lifetime of organic diodes (£470k - NMO project)

Summary: This project will develop a unique exposure-testing chamber coupled with a suite of advanced measurement techniques that will allow the elucidation of the principle modes and mechanisms of degradation in organic diodes. It will also develop representative protocols for accelerated testing specifically tailored for organic diodes.

NPL staff working on the project:
Fernando Castro
James Blakesley
George Dibb



2011-2014

Project title: Metrology for the manufacturing of thin films (3M EUR - EMRP project)

Partners: NPL, PTB, VSL, CEA, LNE, BAM, CMI, Aalto, INMETRO, Imperial College London, Fraunhofer Institute (ISSB), Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Solar Print, PANalytical, Total SA

Main goals: To underpin the commercial viability of new high-tech thin film optoelectronic technologies, including light emitting diodes, solar cells, phase changing memories and barrier layers, by developing new, and optimising existing, metrology to control consistency and uniformity of production and improve product performance. To establish a pan-European metrology capability with the goal of providing validated and/or traceable metrology for:

  • Thin film materials properties
  • Composition and structure
  • Controlling large area homogeneity and consistency of properties

NPL staff working on the project:
Fernando Castro
Alina Zoladek-Lemanczyk

James Blakesley
Paul Brewer
George Dibb



2011-2014

Project Title: Scalable, low-cost organic photovoltaic devices (£2.4M - TSB project)

Partners: NPL, Pilkington, Solvay Interox, RK PrintCoat Instruments, Flex Ink, Imperial College London, University of Bath

Summary: This project focuses on three key challenges for the translation of organic solar cell lab-scale efficiencies into, low cost, scalable photovoltaic device technologies. Specifically, the three aims of this project are: (i) development of indium and PEDOT -free transparent conducting electrodes which are compatible with high device-module efficiencies and cost effective scale up and (ii) development of new synthetic methods for the scale-up of high-performance organic semiconductors and (iii) the implementation of these materials into OPV modules fabricated employing processing methodologies compatible with high through put, low cost manufacture.

NPL staff working on the project:
Fernando Castro
Deb Roy
Rasmus Havelund
Andrés Muñiz-Piniella
Alex Cuenat



2012-2013

Project title: Measurement and modelling to link morphology with photocurrent generation in OPVs (£156k - NMO project)

Main goals: A novel method will be developed for non-destructive evaluation of the impact of 3D morphology on organic solar cells (OPV) properties with nanoscale resolution. The method will be used to validate a 3D model to link nanoscale morphology to photocurrent generation.

NPL staff working on the project:
Fernando Castro
Stephen Giblin
James Blakesley
Alina Zoladek-Lemanczyk



2010-2012

Project Title: Advanced Metrology for Novel Photovoltaic Technologies (£480k NMO project)

Summary: This project will build upon existing world-class measurement facilities at NPL by developing novel techniques to establish a new multidisciplinary integrated metrology capability for excitonic solar cells which will include nanoscale materials characterisation, electrical and optoelectronic metrology and nanoscale surface and interface analysis. The focus is on the development of measurement methods to allow correlation of nano- and microscale morphology to OPV and DSSC device performance.

NPL staff working on the project:
Fernando Castro
Andy Wain



2010-2011

Project Title: Measurements of ultra-low permeability barriers for flexible organic electronics (£180k - NMO project)

Summary: The project will determine the feasibility of using NPL's trace water vapour facility as the basis for a method for measuring water vapour transmission rate of ultra low permeation barriers suitable for encapsulating a variety of organic electronic devices. The facility uses cavity ringdown infrared spectroscopy for detection and is a significant move away from conventional methods.

NPL staff working on the project:
Paul Brewer



2008-2011

Project Title: Reusable, unzippable, sustainable electronics (£446k - TSB project)

Partners: In2Tec, Gwent Group

Summary: This project will provide a disruptive change in manufacturing process by developing innovative enabling technology leading to fabrication of sustainable multi-layer electronics assemblies. Special polymer layers and binders will be developed to allow straightforward, end-of-life disassembly with easy reuse and recycling. The technology lends itself readily to rigid, flexible and 3D structures. Recovery levels in typical assemblies will be improved to at least 90%.

NPL staff working on the project:
Martin Wickham
Chris Hunt



2008-2011

Project Title: Nanostructured Interface Characterisation for Plastic Electronics (£1.5M - NMO project)

Summary: A unique strength at NPL is the combined skills and world-class measurement facilities that allows a holistic approach to plastic electronics covering manufacturing printing issues to fundamental measurements of exciton formation. This project is divided in four work-packages that will setup and develop in-house capabilities for: nanoscale electrical measurements, AFM for nanoscale PV properties, optoelectronic measurement and modelling, 2D & 3D nanochemical analysis.

NPL staff working on the project:
Craig Murphy
Markys Cain
Fernando Castro
Li Yang
Santanu Ray
Jian Wang
Charles Clifford
Martin Munz
Deb Roy
Ian Gilmore
Steve Spencer
Jonathan Williams
Joanna Lee
Steven Knox
Alex Cuenat
Patrick Nicholson
Andrés Muñiz-Piniella
Laurie Winkless
Mike Shaw
Louise Wright
Trevor Esward
Paul Brewer
Alex Shard



2007-2010

Project Title: A measurement platform to enable accelerated development of emerging photovoltaic technologies (£300k - NMO project)

Summary: The project will deliver a measurement and testing platform, developed at NPL, to support UK development, competitiveness, and exploitation of third generation photovoltaic (PV) cells, essential to fulfil key long-term Government objectives on renewable energy.

NPL staff working on the project:
Alan Turnbull
Fernando Castro
Patrick Nicholson



2007-2009

Project Title: Surface conditioning of plastic electronics (£1.1M- TSB project)

Partners: Cambridge Display Technology, University of Cambridge, University of Liverpool.

Summary: The consortium proposes to develop methodologies for creating and characterising the wetting and non-wetting regions of a substrate, which are essential for the correct placement and confinement of printed electronic materials. We propose using a threefold approach: 1) build up detailed understanding and working models of the plasma process, 2) develop alternate surface conditioning techniques which do not use plasma & 3) exploit microscopic surface measurements to build micron scale wettability maps.

NPL staff working on the project:
Li Yang
Santanu Ray
Joanna Lee
Jian Wang
Craig Murphy
Alex Shard



2007-2010

Project Title: Fabrication and integration of thin film organic devices on flexible substrates for displays (£945k - TSB project)

Partners: HP Labs, Qudos Technology, Queen Mary University London, University of East Anglia

Summary: An industry led multidisciplinary consortium is formed to undertake precompetitive research into the design and development of metallophthalocyanine based thin film transistors, photodiodes and memory switches on plastic substrates. The printable features of these devices will be exploited for the implementation of integrated circuits. Special emphasis will be given towards a low-cost manufacturing process to provide flexible, lightweight displays such as e-paper suitable for human friendly mobile electronics.

NPL staff working on the project:
Craig Murphy
Markys Cain
Laurie Winkless
Alex Cuenat
Andrés Muñiz-Piniella



2008-2010

Project Title: Delivering electronic components with aligned layers by foil stamping (£945k - TSB project)

Partners: DeLaRue, RK PrintCoat Instruments, Novalia, PETEC, Imperial College London

Summary: This project will develop the delivery of plastic electronic components, specifically transistors, to a flexible substrate in a roll-to-roll fashion. The work encompasses basic research into novel material formulations and processes to obtain multiple thin film layers, which may then be transferred to pre-patterned electrodes through foil stamping. In this manner, the semiconductor, dielectric and gate of a transistor may be located with automatic registration, obviating the need for resists and multiple printing steps, which are costly and wasteful. The method, once proven, will enable the economic production of flexible circuitry with high throughput thereby reducing costs and offering novel, valuable features for printing industries.

NPL staff working on the project:
Craig Murphy
Li Yang
Santanu Ray
Martin Munz
Steven Knox
Alex Shard


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For more information, please contact Fernando Castro

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