Roll-to-Roll Processing of Nanostructured Materials and Devices

Professor James Watkins
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering and Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing
University of Massachusetts Amherst, 120 Governors Drive, Amherst, MA 01003

Roll-to-roll (R2R) technologies provide routes for continuous production of materials and devices with high throughput and low cost. Additional materials and energy savings can be realized through the incorporation of additive manufacturing principles in the process flow. We have outlined a strategy for nanoscale device fabrication that includes nanoparticle driven self-assembly to produce well-ordered polymer/nanoparticle hybrid materials with domain sizes of less than 10 nm that can serve as active device layers and R2R nanoimprint lithography for device scale patterning at length scales greater than 50 nm. We also employ highly filled nanoparticle/polymer hybrids for applications that require tailored dielectric constant or refractive index. Finally, we have developed a new process that allows direct printing of patterned crystalline metal oxide films and composites with feature sizes of less than 100 nm. This approach is an attractive alternative to conventional subtractive processing using Si wafer-based platforms and can enable large area production of fully printed devices. These R2R processing schemes can be scaled in our newly constructed demonstration facility, which includes a custom designed, precision R2R UV-assisted nanoimprint lithography (NIL) system and hybrid materials coaters. Application examples including flexible electronics, lighting and large area films for light and energy management will be discussed.