Completed Projects

Below is a selection of recently completed 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.

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.

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.