Gravia will investigate the feasibility of producing graphene-based barrier films for next generation flexible OLED lighting and display products" /> UK collaboration seeks to develop new ultra-barrier materials based on Graphene interlayers
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Thursday, 23 Nov 2017

UK collaboration seeks to develop new ultra-barrier materials based on Graphene interlayers

Gravia will investigate the feasibility of producing graphene-based barrier films for next generation flexible OLED lighting and display products

7 Oct 2015 | Editor

The Centre of Process Innovation (CPI) has announced that it is part of a UK based collaboration to develop the next generation of ultra-barrier materials using graphene for the production of flexible transparent plastic electronic based displays such as those required for the next generation of smartphones, tablets and wearable electronics.

The project combines the skills from each of the partners (University of Cambridge, FlexEnable Ltd, the National Physical Laboratory and the Centre for Process Innovation) and expects to deliver a feasible material and process system. It builds upon existing investments by InnovateUK and the EPSRC in this area. The resulting ultra-barrier material can be potentially used in a wide range of novel applications by the lead business partner, FlexEnable.

The twelve month project titled Gravia funded under the Innovate UK 'realising the graphene revolution' call will investigate the feasibility of producing graphene-based barrier films for next generation flexible OLED lighting and display products.

According to CPI the incorporation of graphene interlayers offers great potential for flexible displays. Its gas blocking properties will enable barrier materials that are not only flexible, but also transparent, robust, and very impervious to many molecules.

Gravia will seek to accelerate product development, improving upon current ultra barrier performance and lifetimes by producing consistent barrier materials and processes on large area substrates by utilising specialist growth techniques.

The key challenge will be to develop large-area poly-crystalline graphene films which maximise performance whilst mitigating process imperfections. In this way, solutions can be produced at scale and economically viable in the future.

Collaborating with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) will ensure that the data claims are correct and meaningful comparisons can be made in the future with the very latest and most sensitive equipment.

Future development work will focus on transferring the technology from proof of concept to pilot production scale.

James Johnstone, Business Development Manager at CPI, said, "The collaboration brings together world class supply chain expertise across the UK to bridge the gap from Graphene research to the manufacturing of commercial flexible display screens. The Hofmann group at the Department of Engineering in Cambridge is a key innovator in the growth and processing of graphene films. NPL are experts in the traceable measurement of water transfer characteristics and FlexEnable brings an industrial focus to the project with their extensive expertise in the manufacture of flexible electronics and flexible display screens in particular. CPI’s role in the project is to use roll-to-roll atomic layer deposition technologies to scale up, test and fabricate the ultra barrier materials."
Chuck Milligan, CEO FlexEnable, said, "Graphene and other 2D materials are extremely relevant for the flexible electronics industry, with the potential for broad usage from conductors to semiconductors, insulators and even barriers. Building on FlexEnable’s previous leading-edge work with graphene, our involvement will enable the accelerated integration of these game-changing materials in a new generation of ultra-flexible end-user applications with innovative form factors."

Project background

Project value (£): 90,499

The project will investigate the feasbility of producing very high quality barrier films in MOCON test formats for next generation flexible OLED and plastic logic display applications.These exhibit ultra low water vapour transfer rates (WVTR) of less than 1 X 10-5 g/m2 per day using self healing layers of high quality CVD graphene and Atomic Layer Deposited (ALD) amorphous alumina.

The work will explore the necessary industrial process parameters to ensure the lowest price point at which the minimum barrier properties can be delivered for the chosen high end application. These resultant polymer supported barrier films will then be benchmarked against existing barrier coatings in WVTR and mechanical flex tests. These measurements will also be made traceable by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to ensure that the data claims are correct and meaningful comparisons can be made.

The industrial innovation challenge will be producing this fully flexible, self-healed (contiguous), optically transparent film of 25cm2 (beyond the current state of art 4cm2) in a timely manner with very few acceptable defects to ensure ultra-barrier performance.

The project will utilise advanced characterisation metrologies and quality control analysis to ensure the iterative development of the films and the resultant understanding gained from the feasibility studies will be used to model and anticipate future larger film systems and will also be exploited where possible by barrier seeking end users and through joint KTN activities to target these communities.

http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/M507751/1

www.npl.co.uk    www.cam.ac.uk    www.uk-cpi.com    www.flexenable.com   

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