Funded Projects

Due to the competitive nature of technology development, most of our development projects with commercial partners are conducted under strict NDAs. Obducat is however also a much appreciated R&D partner within the publicly funded research community, below is a selection of currently ongoing funded research projects.

Development of advanced nanoimprint lithography platform for large-area nanopatterning

Recent advance in nanopatterning technology has enabled exploration of new ideas to introduce new products in the market or improve existing products in their performance and quality.  Those ideas include increase of LED efficiency, enhancement of picture quality in LCD, glass windows with self-cleaning function, to name a few. For example, nanopatterning of surface or substrate of LED is well-known to boost its efficiency, and surface patterning is an indispensable part of solar cell production to increase the light absorption.  Despite remarkable progress in nanopatterning technology and abundant examples of its application, however, the present applications are still restricted to small area patterning.  Looking back the history of semiconductor and flat panel display industry, scaling up to large area patterning is a foreseeable future trend, and there are already emerging applications demanding nanopatterning over larger area. OLED lighting is one of outstanding examples where R&D effort to increase its efficiency by incorporating nanopatterns within devices is abundant, but a transition from R&D to manufacturing is being hindered by lack of manufacturing platform for large area nanopatterning. Besides OLED lighting, there are plenty of applications that will get benefit by availability of large area manufacturing platform for nanopatterning: thin-film solar cell, moth-eye antireflection, wire grid polarizer, etc.

The goal of ANILP is to establish a 730 mm x 920 mm (Gen4) large area manufacturing platform for advanced nanopattening. The platform will be based on Nano Imprint Lithography (NIL) which is the most cost-efficient nanopatterning technology. NIL has been developed from an emerging nanoreplication technology into a promising manufacturing technology in several different application areas. NIL is being already used in industry for example to enhance light output of LEDs, but its application is still limited to relatively small areas of wafer sizes between 2” and 6”. Obducat has successfully been able to scale up its NIL technology from 2” circular up to currently 8” square sizes. Although a demand in the industry for scaling up the NIL technology into larger area is very high, its development is still challenging in every aspect of technology involved: stamp manufacturing with a size matching to imprint machine, design and building of machine for uniform imprint over larger area, development of material and process, and stamp demolding from substrates without generating defects.To achieve the goal, three main development activities will be pursed within the project.

  • Machine design and building based upon Obducat’s NIL knowhow and previous scale up from 2” to 8” and experience from industrial manufacturing using NIL.
  • Novel stamp fabrication methods including the ability to recombine small area nanostructures into large stamps.

The new manufacturing platform from ANILP project will enable realization of a new generation of nanostructured organic large area electronics (OLAE) products beyond OLED lighting. The market for OLAE based products is growing rapidly and is expected to reach a size of 40 billion dollar by 2019. The ANILP manufacturing platform will put Europe in the forefront of this market. Besides this, nanopatterning over large area is expected to have a substantial impact in other fields including solar cells, printed electronics, and printed batteries. This will advance Europe into a leading position for nanotechnology manufacturing.

Advanced aRchitectures for ultra-thin high-efficiency CIGS solar cells with high Manufacturability (ARCIGS-M)

The final target of ARCIGS-M is to demonstrate a new CIGS PV architecture, with increased efficiency, improved reliability and stability, at reduced cost and high potential for new applications and markets, where the project will focus on building integrated PV (BIPV). The project’s goals are a reduction in substrate and CIGS material usage, and a performance enhancement by use of industrially viable materials, fabrication methods and equipment. Therefore, the proposed solar cell module design has a 40 % cost reduction potential compared to current industrial state-of-the-art.

This project will use both glass and thin steel substrates. The steel substrate based module can be made light-weight and flexible, which is needed in applications, where weight is an issue. This is often the case for flat roofs on commercial buildings. The glass-glass module has specific BIPV potentials regarding semi-transparent modules (“see-through” modules) and for façade mounting. In order to keep costs low, monolithic integration will be used both for glass and steel, an interconnection technology that leads to an aesthetic dark smooth appearance and has a high active/total area ratio. A full market analysis, targeting various BIPV applications and their technological needs, has started with the support of TTO ( and will be performed together with stake-holders within the scope of the project. The goal is having a set of feasible products and/or product concepts ready for commercialization at the end of the project.

Within the duration of 36 months, the proposed project’s ambition is to develop advanced materials for the fabrication of novel architectures of photovoltaics (PV) material and demonstrate them in an industrially relevant environment.

Development and application of ultra-high resolution nano-organized films by self-assembly of plant-based materials for next generation opto- and bio-electronics

Carbohydrate biomass constitutes an abundant and renewable resource that is attracting growing interest as a biomaterial. Convincingly the use of different natural “elementary bricks”, from oligosaccharides to fibers found in biomass, when mimicking self-assembly as Nature does, is a promising field towards innovative nanostructured biomaterials, leading to eco-friendly manufacturing processes of various devices. Indeed, the self-assembly at the nanoscale level of plant-based materials, via an elegant bottom-up approach, allows reaching very high-resolution patterning (sub-10nm) never attained to date by petroleum-based molecules, thus providing them with novel properties.

GREENANOFILMS aims to use carbohydrates as “elementary bricks” (glycopolymers, cellulose nanocrystals and nanofibers) for the conception of ultra-high resolution nanostructured technical films to be used in various markets, from large volume sectors, such as (i) high-added value transparent flexible substrate for printed electronic applications, (ii) thin films for high-efficiency organic photovoltaics, to growing markets, such as (iii) next generation nanolithography and (iv) high-sensitivity SERS biosensors.

GREENANOFILMS main impacts are the implementation of a new generation of ultra-nanostructured carbohydrate-materials that will play a prominent role in the achievement of the sustainability improvement of various opto- and bio-electronic sectors. A network of industrial end-user leaders is integrated in the project to facilitate the innovator-to-market perspective. The prospective environmental impacts and benefits of new green processes, eco-efficient nanomaterials and nano products will be quantified with Life Cycle Assessment, risk assessment and validation of the industrial feasibility, including economic evaluation of the products. The results will be disseminated to the European smart paper, printed electronic, photovoltaic, display, security and health communities.

Manufacturing of sizable area and integrated dye-sensitized solar cells

The goal of this project is to manufacture DSSC panels of (e.g. 914 mm 580 mm) with 7% efficiency and long-term stability including 200-cycle thermal stability (-40 Celsius to 90 Celsius) and light soaking test (255W/m2 and 500 hr). We also deliver essential chemicals including high-efficiency dyes, stability-secured gel-type electrolytes, various n-type oxide pastes and anti-reflective nanostructures, which will significantly boost the cost reduction and long-term reliability of DSSC panels.

The reliable and high-quality large size DSSC panel is a prerequisite to advancing DSSC space into the real market. Furthermore, large-size DSSC panels will greatly reduce the efficiency loss originating from the interconnection among the panels. Thus, integrating the expertise from each participating organization will facilitate commercialization of DSSCs with a special emphasis on smart windows and building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) applications.

The goal of this project is to manufacture the large-size DSSC panel (e.g. 914 mm x 580 mm) with 7% or higher efficiency by integrated technologies including current DSSC protocols, plasma display panel (PDP) processing protocols and nano-imprinting technology. Importantly, the usage of the PDP processing protocols can greatly reduce the starting investment for the development and further commercialization of the large-area DSSC panel suitable for smart windows and BIPV applications. Also, moth-eye anti-reflection structures fabricated by a nano-imprinting technique on DSSC substrates can mitigate the efficient reduction of the light reflection from the air-glass interface and allow for the self-cleaning ability of the surface to avoid dust adsorption that will utilize solar energy more efficiently. Furthermore, we can introduce UV-cutting function into anti-reflection coating, which will greatly improve long-term stability of DSSC panels. Accordingly, we will achieve that our panels have the following performance: over 7% solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency and long-term stability including 200-cycle thermal stability (-40 Celsius to 90 Celsius) and light soaking test (255W/m2 and 500 hr). Once we realize the DSSC panel with a size of 914 mm x 580 mm and 7% efficiency, 25 W/panel will be obtained.

Although the photoconversion efficiency of DSSCs is lower than that of market leading CIGS or Si solar cells, positive inherent features of DSSCs as their workability under low light conditions, transparency, conformability, superior performance under low-light conditions and easy integration in buildings will facilitate their market entry. It is anticipated that, if such modules are used as windows and/or roofs, more than half of the electricity consumed in building can be supplied from the Sun. This allows architects to adopt DSSC panels as new construction components for zero-energy building and thus DSSC business will be expanded with our DSSC panels.

Nanophotonics for ultra-thin crystalline silicon photovoltaics

The ambition of PhotoNvoltaics is to enable the development of a new and disruptive solar cell generation resulting from the marriage of crystalline-silicon photovoltaics (PV) with advanced light-trapping schemes from the field of nanophotonics. These two technologies will be allied through a third one, nanoimprint, an emerging lithography technique from the field of microelectronics. The outcome of this alliance will be a nano-textured thin-film crystalline silicon (c-Si) cell featuring a drastic reduction in silicon consumption and a greater cell and module process simplicity. It will thus ally the sustainability and efficiency of crystalline silicon PV with the simplicity and low cost of the current thin-film solar cells. The challenge behind PhotoNvoltaics lies behind the successful identification and integration of these nano-textures into thin c Si-based cells, which aim is a record boost of the light-collection efficiency of these cells, without harming their charge-collection efficiency.

The goals of this project are scientific and technological. The scientific goal is two-fold: (1) to demonstrate that the so-called Yablonovitch limit of light trapping can be overcome, with specific nanoscale surface structures, periodic, random or pseudo-periodic, and (2) to answer the old question whether random or periodic patterns are best. The technological goal is also two-fold: (1) to fabricate thin c-Si solar cells with the highest current enhancement ever reached and (2) to demonstrate the up-scalability of this concept by fabricating patterns over industrially relevant areas. To reach these goals, PhotoNvoltaics will gather seven partners, expert in all the required fields to model and identify the optimal structures, fabricate them with a large span of techniques, integrate them into solar cells and, finally, assess the conditions of transferability of these novel concepts, that bring nanophotonics into PV, further towards industry.