Much of today’s functional circuitry utilizing semiconducting materials is deposited in a batch process at elevated temperatures (>500 C) in a vacuum environment. Not only is this costly and time consuming, but the elevated temperatures required to achieve acceptable performance means that substrate materials are limited to those that can tolerate such processing conditions – often adding to the cost and reducing design flexibility (i.e. rigid substrates).
The objective of the current work is to develop roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques for thin film electronics utilizing ORNL’s unique Pulse Thermal Processing (PTP) technologies coupled with non-vacuum low temperature deposition techniques. Development of non-vacuum, large scale deposition and processing techniques for nanoparticle-based inks and pastes that reduce cost and energy requirements associated with processing of thin film electronics enable initial applications that focus on low-cost, flexible substrates, such as polymers and paper, and may expand to include embedded circuitry in additive manufactured components. This will allow for multi-functional devices to be integrated into additive manufactured components for automotive and aerospace applications as well as low-cost sensors and lighting to be widely utilized in manufacturing and building technologies applications.