Schott has announced they have won this year's German Industry Innovation Award in the category large companies for its ultra-thin glass. Thinner than a human hair and yet flexible enough that it can be wrapped around your little finger. It is flexible like plastic, but robust as glass. Ultra-thin glass serves as the basis for product innovations in the electronics and semiconductor industries, where it enables faster, more energy-efficient and thinner devices.
According to the announcement ultra-thin glass from Schott is robust and flexible for use in a variety of high-tech applications. The company produces ultra-thin glasses for innovative functions in the smart-phones of tomorrow: from high-strength cover glasses to substrates for flexible OLED displays and "wearables", for camera systems, novel micro batteries and advanced packaging of micro-electronics, as well as fingerprint and bio-sensors.
Schott, using a variety of glass types and proprietary down-draw technology, can reliably produce a portfolio of ultra-thin glasses down to a minimum thickness of 0.025 mm - for comparison a human hair is 0.050mm "thick". Schott states that these products offer many advantages over other substrate materials because they are more stable than plastic and significantly more economical compared to silicon.
Figure: Schott - Award winning ultra-thin glass for the organic electronics
Besides the traditional semiconductor industry, this material is also of importance to the field of organic electronics. Schott works with a number of German development partners on building a production infrastructure for industrial processing.
The Fraunhofer Institutes FEP (Institute of Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology) in Dresden and IZM (Institute for Reliability and Microintegration) in Berlin are important innovation centers.
For instance, advancements from Schott and several of its partners are being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to be able to provide ultra-thin glass on a roll for use in organic electronics. Examples of such applications include touch sensors, flexible displays, lighting components, organic solar cells and intelligent labels.
These elements, in turn, enable pioneering innovations in consumer electronics, packaging, household appliances and the automotive industry and thus open up access to the world market.
The Chairman of the Board of Management of Schott, Dr. Frank Heinricht, received the award from EU Commissioner Guenther H. Oettinger and Nobel Laureate in Physics Prof. Dr. Klaus von Klitzing at a gala event held in Darmstadt on April 16.
Dr. Frank Heinricht, The Chairman of the Board of Management of Schott, said, "This award is a special honor for Schott and confirmation of our intensive ongoing work on this visionary topic. The award underscores that we have succeeded in bringing a trailblazer for new applications to market with our material innovation ultra-thin glass. Through our close cooperation with national institutes and companies, we are also helping to secure Germany's position as a site for research and technology."