Monday, August 24, 2015

ALD Encapsulation technologies for flexible electronics

Here is an overview on encapsulation technologies for flexible electronics covering the main technologies and players. So just scroll down to the interesting part about ALD sating the main OEMs:
  • BENEQ
  • Lotus
  • Encapsulix
  • Synos (Veeco)
From a market perspective tehr is a forecast from IDTechEx Barrier Layers for Flexible Electronics 2015-2025: Technologies, Markets, ForecastsRead more at: http://www.idtechex.com/research/reports/barrier-layers-for-flexible-electronics-2015-2025-technologies-markets-forecasts-000409.asp



Barrier layer market forecasts in US$ million


Status of flexible encapsulation to enable flexible electronics


In 2020, flexible barrier manufacturing for flexible electronic devices such as displays will be a market worth more than US$184 million, according to IDTechEx Research. That equates to 3.8 million square meters of flexible barrier films for electronics.


Although multilayer approaches – usually organic and inorganic layers – have been the most popular solution for flexible encapsulation so far, there is significant development work with solutions based on single layer approaches such as flexible glass or atomic layer deposition (ALD) which could, in later years, capture part of the market. The table below, compiled by IDTechEx analysts shows some of the characteristics of flexible glass and ALD films as developers are looking to bring them to market.

[...]

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) present and future outlook/market share 

ALD is another flexible encapsulation technology receiving a lot of attention with several players currently developing solutions based on it. It seems like it is not a short-term solution, if it will ever be one as a stand-alone layer but ALD may be a solution in a multi-layer stack in combination with a sputtered or PECVD layer if it would be possible to find a good cost structure. Regarding the intrinsic properties of the material, ALD film deposited at low temperature (T<80 C) have a superior quality when tested at room temperature. A single ALD layer less-than 50 nm thick can perform better than thicker layers deposited by sputtering or PECVD.

However, the inherent stability of the films at higher temperature/humidity (e.g. 85C/85%RH) is a problem. If PE-CVD is used, ALD film stability improves, as well as for mixed oxides, but it is still an issue. A second problem comes with particles and substrates non-uniformity. Any defect may lead at an initial non-uniform nucleation that propagates into the growing film. Furthermore, loose particles on substrates may be partially covered, but because of the extreme thinness, the thin film does not have the mechanical strength to keep them in place under mechanical stress. Any mechanical stress leads to film fracture with consequent creation of an ingress path for moisture. That is why multilayer structures are necessary.

Deposition tools are in development from Lotus, Beneq, Encapsulix and others. Exploration at Samsung SDC with ALD films for TFE was very much advertised by Synos, but resulted in failure and any further evaluation was halted. ALD for barrier on foil has better results although there are doubts and hurdles in scaling up and reaching the deposition speed required for a cost effective process.




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