Showing posts with label roll-to-roll. Show all posts
Showing posts with label roll-to-roll. Show all posts

Friday, April 23, 2021

Beneq and E+R Group enter strategic partnership for roll-to-roll ALD

The revolutionary Genesis ALD platform enables next-generation battery manufacturers to scale up quickly

Beneq, a leading ALD equipment manufacturer, today announces a strategic partnership with E+R to design and commercialize innovative roll-to-roll ALD systems for R&D and volume production. The companies have together developed a revolutionary roll-to-roll ALD system.

The new ALD platform – named Genesis ALD – is targeted at various industrial R2R ALD applications, including:
  • Passivation of cathodes and anodes for various types of lithium-ion and solid-state batteries
  • Conductive layers and encapsulation for flexible solar cells
  • Moisture barriers for flexible electronics
“Bringing Beneq’s unique roll-to-roll ALD technology together with Emerson & Renwick’s deep experience in roll-to-roll vacuum and web handling is good news for the battery industry,” says Sami Sneck, Business Executive at Beneq.

“The partnership allows us to offer state-of-the-art atomic layer deposition technology for enhancing li-ion and other next-generation batteries, where we expect to see strong market demand. There is a lot of potential for this technology in other application areas too, but the market for those end-products is yet to mature,” says Sneck.

“We have worked very well with Beneq and both companies have a good grasp of the potential markets available,” says Andrew Jack, Sales Director at E+R Group. “ E+R offers a wide range of high-end R2R vacuum equipment. This collaboration makes it easier to integrate R2R ALD with other techniques where necessary.”

The partnership is effective immediately. For inquiries, visit

Genesis ALD

World’s only commercially available roll-to-roll ALD system. Learn more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Roll-To-Roll ALD to Thermally Stabilizing NCM Cathodes for Lithium Ion Batteries

Universities in USA, China and Taiwan have developed a roll-to-roll atomic layer deposition (R2R ALD) apparatus for growing uniform thin layers of TiO2 that can be used to passivate NCM lithium battery cathode material. At a roll line speed: 2–40 mm s–1 the deposition of the TiO2was investigated. 
  • The capacity retention of TiO2-coated porous electrodes is substantially improved compared to that of the pristine cathode material for high-temperature cycling. 
  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy confirms that the ALD-TiO2 coating suppresses the undesired side reactions initiated at the electrode/electrolyte interface, reduces charge transfer resistance, and ultimately facilitates the Li+ transport through the composite cathode nanostructure. 
  • The NCM cathode material enables high-temperature operation (>55 °C) with enhanced specific capacity, superior rate capability, excellent cyclability, and high coulombic efficiency within a wide potential window (3.0–4.35 V). 
  • The R2R ALD technique developed in this work paves the way for large-scale fabrication of ceramic-coated cathode sheets with a production rate reaching 2.4 m min–1 for a continuous coating operation.
The schematic diagram of R2R ALD system, consisted of four main parts: gas delivering unit, sample delivering unit, plasma reactor unit, and ALD shower array unit. Figure from supporting info:

Roll-To-Roll Atomic Layer Deposition of Titania Nanocoating on Thermally Stabilizing Lithium Nickel Cobalt Manganese Oxide Cathodes for Lithium Ion Batteries
ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
Publication Date:November 11, 2020

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Roll-to-roll ALD for lithium-ion batteries by Beneq R2R

In this talk with Dr. Tommi Kääriäinen of Beneq they discuss how ALD can help solve performance and safety issues for ever-evolving lithium-ion battery products. Specifically they compare roll-to-roll ALD, a tool design pioneered by Beneq, with particle ALD technology.

Don´t miss to register and tune in to Forge Nanos PALD Summit today!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

JVST A: Flexible CIGS Solar Cells using Atomic layer Deposition

I remember testing the laboratory-scale rotary spatial-ALD reactor from this innovative at TNO in Eindhoven team lead by Paul Poodt and Fred Roozeboom some years ago and was very impressed then that it was possibly to grow highly conformal films in high aspect ratio structures so fats by ALD. Now their technology has evolved much further - here "Atmospheric spatial atomic layer deposition of ZnOS buffer layers for flexible Cu(In,Ga)Se2 solar cells"

Monday, March 19, 2018

Amazing rock n roll ALD machine from Boulder Colorado

Those of you that follow ALD knows that much of the new cool and exciting ALD processes, precursors and technology comes out of Boulder Colorado and especially the Prof. Geroge Group. Some personal favourites and examples are:

- Tungsten ALD
- Low temperature SiO2 catalytic ALD [LINK]
- Implementation of QCM in ALD as a standard tool
- Reverse ALD with new chemistries a.k.a. thermal ALE
- ALD on particles

Obviously many other labs also work hard on these new approaches but somehow the Gerorge Lab always produce that fundamental benchmarking type or research that you tend to return to long after it was published. The best thing is that all the publications are listed and partially available in the long list of publications (LINK) so it is easy to come back later and find the publications.

Just the other day this amazing video of a rock n roll ALD machine from Boulder Colorado was posted on LinkedIn (LINK) by Alexander Yersak, who is a post doc there. Turn on the volume and have a look yourself!

Video downloaded from LinkedIn (LINK)

Check out Alexander Yersak Research Gate profile for access to some of his publications (LINK) lik these ones for example:
Rapid Characterization of Thin Film Dissolution in Water with in Situ Monitoring of Film Thickness Using Reflectometry
Atmospheric pressure spatial atomic layer deposition web coating with in situ monitoring of film thickness

Monday, March 5, 2018

Beneq Roll-to-roll for continuous ALD film deposition

Roll-to-roll for cost-effective ALD

[From Beneq Blog] The implementation of roll-to-roll is important for cost-effective ALD in several areas. One of the most important applications areas is ALD coatings as barriers for polymer substrates. The barrier films are critical for encapsulation and moisture barrier protection for flexible organic light emitting diodes (OLED) displays and thin film solar cells.

Internal Beneq results confirmed by independent laboratories have shown that Al2O3 ALD coatings using TMA and ozone form excellent gas barriers with WVTR values of about 1x10-5 g/m2/ at 38C/85% relative humidity.

Beneq WCS 600

The Beneq WCS 600 is the ideal option for customers looking for a large and cost-effective ALD roll-to-roll system. Typical non-uniformities are less than 2% across the web width for a typical Al2O3 coating.  A WVTR of 10-4 g/m2 day can be expected at a web speed of 0.25 meters/minute.

The Beneq WCS 600 a large and cost effective ALD roll-to-roll system (
Learn more

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Spatial atomic layer deposition for coating flexible porous Li-ion battery electrodes

Here is important step forward in fast roll to roll processing of Li-battery electrodes using fast spatial ALD from CU Boulder, Colorado. Spatial ALD (SALD) is based on separating the precursors and inert gas purges in space rather than in time and therefore the deposition rates up to a hundred times faster are achievable. SALD can be performed at ambient atmosphere and therefore is a cheaper technology due to less need of expensive vacuum technology compared to conventional low pressure ALD.

High speed and low cost of ownership opens the door to high volume manufacturing of bulk quantities of energy materials for applications including solar energy, energy storage, or smart windows. Previously ALD Nanosolutions has announced a Spatial ALD technology for conformal encapsulation of ALD on powder material like for instance Li-battery cathode powder (LINK). A good overview of Spatial ALD for energy applications is this review paper by David Muñoz-Rojas et al: "Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition (SALD), an emerging tool for energy materials. Application to new-generation photovoltaic devices and transparent conductive materials" [OPEN ACCESS]

Please find the JVSTA abstract below for the recent article form Boulder:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Meyer Burger offer high-speed Spatial ALD Technology for R2R Production

Meyer Burger has updated their ALD Equipment offering and are now offering two ALD Products, one for R&D and one for Production. Both are based on Spatial ALD coating technology.


The FLEx S2S sALD is suit­able for ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment that re­quire high speed ALD coat­ing tech­nol­ogy com­bined with ex­cel­lent uni­for­mity  (Source:

The FLEx S2S sALD (sheet to sheet spa­tial ALD coat­ing so­lu­tion) is suit­able for ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment that re­quire high speed ALD coat­ing tech­nol­ogy com­bined with ex­cel­lent uni­for­mity. The de­vel­oped process is trans­ferrable to the FLEx R2R sALD (roll to roll spa­tial ALD coat­ing so­lu­tion) in­dus­trial Equip­ment.

Main advantages
  • Grow rates > 1 nm/s; 100 times compared to conventional ALD
  • Flexibility in substrate material and layer thickness
  • No pinholes
  • Thickness control on atomic scale
  • No gas phase reaction. No parasitic deposition
  • Excellent conformity
  • High application potential in flexible electronics, photovoltaics, OLED
  • No vacuum process, process at atmospheric pressure
  • Compact footprint


The FLEx R2R sALD is a full scale machine for high speed production on foil.

The FLEx R2R sALD is a ALD piece of pro­duc­tion equip­ment for the de­po­si­tion of thin R2R films

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fraunhofer IVV improves barrier technology using atomic layer deposition

The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP and the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB will present new developments in films and the efficient control of coating processes at the upcoming International Converting Exhibition Europe ICE being held in Munich from 21 - 23 March 2017. Under the motto "Functional films – efficient coating processes", emphasis will be put on new film functionalities and accelerated test methods (Hall A5, Stand 1031). 

The Fraunhofer IVV has acquired a new coating plant which utilizes atomic layer deposition to further reduce the permeability of films. Minimizing the permeability to water vapor and oxygen is the key to successful further improvement of high barrier films. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is paving the way here. Coating via roll-to-roll processes allows high processing speeds and production efficiency to be achieved. Up until now, films with the highest barriers have been produced exclusively in vacuum processes. The new ALD plant at the Fraunhofer IVV enables the barrier properties of films to be significantly improved. This is a further step towards meeting the permeability requirements for OLED encapsulation in the medium term. The Fraunhofer IVV is using this technology for publicly funded R&D projects and to provide industry with customized solutions and research services for the development of processes and materials. 

Press release: LINK

Background: Fraunhofer IVV develops ultra barrier films using atomic layer deposition

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sub-100 nm features seamless roller mold using anodization and ALD for R2R nanoimprint lithography

Here is a really cool open access paper form A*STAR on using direct anodization and ALD to prepare a sub-100 nm seamless roller mold for roll-to-roll nanoimprinting. The ALD after the  Al roller mold was deposited with  TiO films in a home-built ALD setup at 150 °C using TiCl4 and water.

LK Tan, AYY Ho - Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, 2016 - 3 days ago - The authors demonstrate an approach using direct anodization and atomic  layer deposition (ALD) to prepare a sub-100 nm seamless roller mold for roll-to-roll nanoimprinting. In this approach, the roller mold is prepared by direct anodization of a ...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beneq Introduces New Rotary Spatial ALD Solution

Today Beneq is reporting (Press release) : Beneq, a leading supplier of ALD equipment and thin film coating services, and Lotus Applied Technology, a technology development and licensing company working to break down the cost and throughput limitations of conventional Atomic Layer Deposition, today announced that they have signed a licensing agreement about Lotus Applied Technology’s Vortex ALD technology. Beneq will be using the technology developed by LotusAT in new rotary spatial ALD equipment that provides low process cost and high productivity in industrial ALD applications, such as barrier, passivation, insulation and protection applications for MEMS, LED, OLED, photovoltaics, memory, battery and sensors. 

A fast industrial solution for high performance coating of wafers

The new equipment will provide an optimal solution for ALD on wafers in industrial applications and will complement Beneq’s extensive portfolio of large-throughput spatial ALD solutions for industrial use, which already includes roll-to roll ALD equipment and continuous large-area ALD solutions for moving sheet substrates.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Fraunhofer IVV develops ultra barrier films using atomic layer deposition

According to a press release March 07, 2016 : The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV will present its latest work on the manufacture of ultra barrier films for the flexible encapsulation of Organic Electronics (OEs) at the international LOPEC fair in Munich on 6-7 April 2016 (Hall B0, Stand 100). A plant for coating films by atomic layer deposition is currently being constructed at the institute. This will allow the Fraunhofer IVV to further reduce the permeability of films and offer new film products to industry.

Minimizing the permeability to water vapor and oxygen is the key to further successful optimization of high barrier films. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is paving the way for this. This technology is suitable for roll-to-roll processes, so allowing high production efficiency. Furthermore the processing speed is similar to that of the vacuum processes currently used to manufacture the highest barrier films.

This new technology at the Fraunhofer IVV will be used for publicly funded R&D projects aimed at providing industry with customized solutions and R&D services in the area of process and material development.

The new atomic layer deposition technology coupled with the existing expertise of the Fraunhofer IVV in the area of high barrier films means that there are very promising opportunities for significantly improving the barrier properties of films and in the medium term meeting the barrier requirements for OLED encapsulation.

Friday, January 8, 2016

CPI in The UK and Beneq Sign Collaboration Agreement to Commercialise Roll-to-Roll ALD Technology

As reported by AZO Nano: The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Beneq have signed a long term collaboration agreement for the use of atomic layer deposition (ALD) technologies in printable electronics applications.

The agreement brings together Beneq’s expertise in the field of high precision vacuum coating alongside CPI’s specialist capability in the scale up of printed electronics. Working together, the two organisations will provide world leading capability for the commercialisation of ALD techniques, creating an open access environment for companies to develop ultra barrier solutions in areas such as photovoltaics, OLEDs, microelectronics and sensors.

The collaboration agreement follows on from CPI’s recent installation of two atomic layer deposition tools from Beneq for the development of conformal nano-scale coatings; one batch ALD tool and one state of the art roll-to-roll ALD ( R2R ALD) system. In particular the roll-to-roll ALD tool processing technology will be actively developed between the two companies.

The partnership between Beneq and CPI means that we will be able to constantly refine and optimise our capability and associated processes over the coming years to ensure that we remain a world leader in atomic layer deposition coatings.

Through this strategic alliance, the continuing developments will give us the flexibility to constantly meet and exceed the demands of our diverse customer requirements.

Alf Smith - Business Development Manager, CPI

Beneq and CPI share a vision of the enabling role of atomic layer deposition in flexible electronics. CPI’s personnel are skilled in using the Beneq ALD equipment so this partnership is a natural continuation to the work we have already carried out together.

Combining CPI’s extensive process capabilities with our know-how of ALD equipment and industrial ALD production allows us to achieve more. Pilot-scale operation and rapid prototyping with our equipment provides Beneq with invaluable information on system performance, and our customers benefit from an established R&D platform and – in the end – faster time to market with ALD applications.

Dr Mikko Söderlund - Head of Industrial Solutions, Beneq

ALD is applied as a specialist barrier coating technique used for the protection of optoelectronic devices and is being utilised by CPI to add moisture ultra-barrier protection layers to flexible polymer substrates used to produce optoelectronic devices using sensitive active electronic materials.

Thin films produced using the ALD method are cost efficient, defect free and completely conformal, thus providing superior barriers and surface passivation compared with other deposition techniques. These properties make them ideal for numerous kinds of critical applications that utilise flexible films such as Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED), flexible display screens, photovoltaic cells and wearable electronics to name but a few.

Current commercial barrier films, based on multilayer laminates are typically prohibitively expensive for large area applications while single thin layer barrier structures from ALD deposition have demonstrated the potential to reduce this cost significantly whilst retaining the requisite barrier and flexibility properties.

Further application areas of ALD and R2R ALD will be developed during the collaboration, where conformal nano-scale coatings are beneficial which would include transport, interfacial and contact layers in devices such as OLEDs, PV and sensors for example.

Monday, October 12, 2015

New R2R ALD tool has passed factory acceptance tests at VDL ETG

According to a report on LinkedIn Flexible Electronics Group: A new R2R ALD machine operating fully at atmospheric pressure has past all factory acceptance tests this week at VDL Enabling Technologies Group (VDL ETG), The Netherlands. 

The tool can deposit various atomic layers like aluminum oxide, zinc oxide, hydrogen sulfide, etc. without making use of a vacuum chamber. The adopted technology allows for extremely fast deposition rates that can even exceed by 50-100 times the deposition rates achieved in conventional vacuum-based R2R ALD tools. Built-in air bearings guarantee the scratch-free handling of the webs used as flexible substrates. The deposition can take place at temperatures as low as 80-100 degrees Celsius, which makes this R2R ALD tool extremely useful for the deposition of barriers, buffer layers, optical films, etc. in flexible electronic devices produced on plastic foils.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

UK collaboration seeks to develop new ultra-barrier materials based on graphene interlayers & roll to roll ALD

As reported by New Electronics : The Centre of Process Innovation (CPI) has announced that it has joined a UK based collaboration called ‘Gravia’, to develop the next generation of ultra-barrier materials using graphene for the production of flexible transparent plastic electronic based displays for the next generation of smartphones, tablets and wearable electronics.

The graphene market is predicted to be worth more than £800million by 2023 and could transform the manufacturing landscape in the UK.The project, including the University of Cambridge, FlexEnable and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), expects to deliver a feasible material and process system. It builds upon existing investments by Innovate UK and the EPSRC in this area.

CPI Cleanroom

“The collaboration brings together world class supply chain expertise across the UK to bridge the gap from Graphene research to the manufacturing of commercial flexible display screens,” said James Johnstone, business development manager at CPI. 

“CPI’s role in the project is to use roll-to-roll atomic layer deposition technologies to scale up, test and fabricate the ultra barrier materials.”

Beneq Roll to Roll Atomic Layer Deposition Tool - CPI offers a roll to roll atomic layer deposition (ALD) tool which is capable of handling films up to 600mm wide with thicknesses ranging from 20 – 200 µm and can produce an active coat width of 480mm.

The incorporation of graphene interlayers offers potential for flexible displays. Its gas blocking properties will enable barrier materials that are flexible, transparent, robust, and impervious to many molecules. Gravia will seek to accelerate product development, improving upon current ultra barrier performance and lifetimes by producing consistent barrier materials and processes on large area substrates by utilising specialist growth techniques. The key challenge will be to develop large-area poly-crystalline graphene films which maximise performance whilst mitigating process imperfections.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

3M licensing agreement with Lotus Applied Technology TransFlexALDTM spatial ALD

As reported today : 3M has entered into a licensing agreement with Lotus Applied Technology to access Lotus’s TransFlexALDTM spatial Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) and barrier materials patent portfolio. TransFlexALD technology enables high-speed, low-cost deposition of single layer “ultra-barrier” coatings on rolls of polymer film using ALD. These coatings play a critical role in the encapsulation of moisture- and oxygen-sensitive electronics, such as OLED (organic light emitting device) lighting and displays, quantum dot films, photovoltaics, and flexible electronics.

“We are pleased to partner with Lotus AT and for the potential of their ALD technology to expand our ultra barrier film solutions portfolio as we integrate it with 3M’s proven technology strengths,” said John Banovetz, vice president of 3M’s Corporate Research Laboratory. “This licensing agreement and our continued product innovation will help 3M increase the performance of our ultra barrier films and offer cost-effective barrier solutions that will allow our customers to provide more competitive products in the flexible electronics markets they serve.”

3M is a leading manufacturer of flexible, transparent ultra barrier films providing encapsulation solutions for display (3M™ Flexible Transparent Barrier Film) and other sensitive electronic applications.

“We are excited to partner with 3M, a distinguished technology leader in the field of ultra barrier films,” said Eric Dickey, president of Lotus Applied Technology. “This technology offers the opportunity to radically improve the performance of single-layer barrier coatings, and 3M’s experience and expertise in this field will enable its rapid deployment in a field of applications that have been demanding higher performance at lower cost.”

( Founded in 2007, Lotus Applied Technology was formed through a spinoff of the thin film process group within Planar Systems, Inc., a pioneer in Atomic Layer Deposition technology and manufacturing. Housed in a fully dedicated 20,000 square foot thin film processing and R&D facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, our team of technologists has been working together for over 20 years, developing innovative solutions to thin film processing challenges. Our equipment set includes a wide array of thin film deposition, lithography, and patterning equipment, including a versatile set of ALD equipment:

  • Six P400 Conventional Pulse-Based Batch ALD reactors
  • Roll to Roll ALD Research Scale Reactor
  • TransFlex Roll to Roll ALD Pilot Scale Reactor
  • Vortex Rotary Batch Reactor

Sunday, June 7, 2015

ALD and Beneq in the Innovation Hotspot for Nanomanufacturing

ALD is identified as one of the Paradigms of Innovation Hotspots in Nanomanufacturing in a recent Frost & Sullivan report on Innovations in Nanomanufacturing. Also a big congratulations to Beneq Oy from Finland, an ALD company identified as one of the "Key Stakeholders in Nanomanufacturing mastering". Beneq is mastering both ALD and Roll to Roll manufacturing.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Innovations in Nanomanufacturing, finds that nanomanufacturing will gain traction in the next three to five years and is likely to approach commercialization between 2018 and 2020. Nanomanufacturing will find vast uses in consumer electronics, healthcare, automotive lighting, building automation, smart fabrics, display technology and positioning systems.

For complimentary access to more information on this research, please visit:

Current nanomanufacturing techniques do not support mass-scale production, as the fabrication of a large number of nano-devices repeatedly and under precisely controlled conditions remains a challenge. Nanomanufacturing is also very complex, involving several processes and a high level of supervision.

ALD is identified as one of the Paradigms of Innovation Hotspots in Nanomanufacturing ("D56D-TI : Analysis of Innovations in Nanomanufacturing", Slide used with permission from Frost & Sullivan)

"Bottom-up approaches such as chemical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition and self-assembly, which ensure high accuracy and minimal material wastage, will accelerate the adoption of nanomanufacturing," said Technical Insights Research AnalystJabez Mendelson. "Progress in sensor and material coating technologies will also boost nanomanufacturing."

To that end, numerous universities and research institutes are conducting research and actively filing patents. Most R&D activities have emerged from Asia-Pacific, considered the hub for electronic manufacturing.

Beneq Oy from Finland is identified as one of the Key Stakeholders in Nanomanufacturing mastering both ALD and Roll to Roll manufacturing. ("D56D-TI : Analysis of Innovations in Nanomanufacturing", Slide used with permission from Frost & Sullivan)

However, high initial investment and R&D costs inhibit the large-scale deployment of nanomanufacturing. Hence, active funding from governments as well as private investors will boost commercialization of nanomanufacturing.

"Collaboration between various stakeholders in the value chain will propel nanomanufacturing technologies to the next stage of growth," said Technical Insights Senior Research Analyst Sumit Kumar Pal. "The field offers immense scope for technology licensing and partnerships, an avenue that stakeholders must explore to capitalize on this vast opportunity."

Innovations in Nanomanufacturing, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, covers key technological advances in nanomanufacturing evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. The report captures stakeholder initiatives, key technological trends, innovation hotspots, business implications of innovations with regard to different application segments, and factors influencing development landscape.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Roll-to-Roll CVD manufacturing of graphene

New manufacturing process could take exotic material out of the lab and into commercial products

That could finally change with a new process described this week in the journal Scientific Reports by researchers at MIT and the University of Michigan. MIT mechanical engineering Associate Professor A. John Hart, the paper’s senior author, says the new roll-to-roll manufacturing process described by his team addresses the fact that for many proposed applications of graphene and other 2-D materials to be practical, “you’re going to need to make acres of it, repeatedly and in a cost-effective manner.”

Diagram of the roll-to-roll process (a) shows the arrangement of copper spools at each end of the processing tube, and how a ribbon of thin copper substrate is wound around the central tube. Cross-section view of the same setup (b) shows the gap between two tubes, where the chemical vapor deposition process occurs. Photos of the system being tested show (c) the overall system, with an arrow indicating the direction the ribbon is moving; (d) a closeup of the copper ribbon inside the apparatus, showing the holes where chemical vapor is injected; and (e) an overhead view of the copper foil passing through the system (MIT News).

The new process is an adaptation of a chemical vapor deposition method already used at MIT and elsewhere to make graphene — using a small vacuum chamber into which a vapor containing carbon reacts on a horizontal substrate, such as a copper foil. The new system uses a similar vapor chemistry, but the chamber is in the form of two concentric tubes, one inside the other, and the substrate is a thin ribbon of copper that slides smoothly over the inner tube.

Gases flow into the tubes and are released through precisely placed holes, allowing for the substrate to be exposed to two mixtures of gases sequentially. The first region is called an annealing region, used to prepare the surface of the substrate; the second region is the growth zone, where the graphene is formed on the ribbon. The chamber is heated to approximately 1,000 degrees Celsius to perform the reaction.

The researchers have designed and built a lab-scale version of the system, and found that when the ribbon is moved through at a rate of 25 millimeters (1 inch) per minute, a very uniform, high-quality single layer of graphene is created. When rolled 20 times faster, it still produces a coating, but the graphene is of lower quality, with more defects.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Centre for Process Innovation pilots Beneq’s breakthrough roll-to-roll ALD system for moisture barrier films

The UK-based Centre for Process Innovation is piloting Beneq’s groundbreaking roll-to-roll ALD system. Acquired in 2014 as CPI’s thin-film moisture barrier film development platform, the piloting activity is paving the way to produce ultra barrier films at significantly lower cost for applications in flexible PV, OLED and quantum dot films.

Broadening the reach of ALD

Spearheading new ALD technology development since 2005, Beneq has introduced to the market the world’s first commercial roll-to-roll (R2R) ALD-based system. The equipment, the Web Coating System WCS 600, enables continuous processing of flexible substrates in order to lower the manufacturing costs of ultra-barrier films. The equipment was commissioned at CPI’s NETPark facilities in Sedgefield, North East England in the summer of 2014 and has been successfully in operation since then.

CPI’s successful piloting of Beneq’s technology demonstrates its great potential in meeting the growing demand for barrier films used in flexible photovoltaics – including CIGS, DSSC and OPV solar cells, flexible OLED displays, quantum dot films for LCD and packaging applications. Moreover, collaborating with CPI, Beneq sees a valuable opportunity to further develop and accelerate the market acceptance of this disruptive and far-reaching technology, making it accessible to numerous industries.

CPI has been running their Beneq WCS 600 for R2R ALD in its NETPark facilities in Sedgefield, in North East England since 2014.
According to the CPI’s Vacuum Coating Technology Specialist, Dr Alf Smith, the results have proved to be very encouraging after seven months of using the unit. “We have been pleased to make progress so quickly, with the tool working well with only a few small issues to deal with. Barrier performance has been excellent at the lower line speeds we started at and have progressed now to higher line speeds while retaining the barrier performance. We have some way to go to meet our ultimate targets, but we see every possibility of reaching them in the coming months. Our intention is to continue optimizing the barrier performance as well as the productivity of it, while investigating the additional requirements for obtaining robust final products for both barrier films and directly encapsulated flexible devices.” says Dr Alf Smith.

International multidisciplinary interest

Some of the major CPI’s projects that involve the technology include the ongoing R2R-CIGS, a pan-European project for developing cost-effective R2R processes for continuous, high-volume manufacturing of flexible solar modules, and NanoMend, a project aimed at pioneering novel technologies for in-line detection, cleaning and repair of micro- and nano-scale defects on thin films deposited on large-area substrates.

Thin films produced using the ALD method are cost-efficient, pinhole–free and completely conformal, thus providing superior barriers and surface passivation. These properties make them ideal for numerous kinds of critical applications in flexible thin films. As the cost of conventional multilayer barrier films is typically prohibitively high, a thin layer of inorganic barrier film produced using R2R ALD technology provides a feasible low-cost solution.


Beneq’s WCS 600 enables continuous spatial application of pinhole-free and completely conformal thin films, such as moisture barriers, on flexible substrates.

Dr Mikko Söderlund, Head of Thin Film Encapsulation Solutions at Beneq, comments the work done and results achieved at CPI: “We are pleased to have had our R2R concept accepted and the equipment validated by such an esteemed player as the CPI. We are equally excited to witness the commitment by CPI to work with the technology, and of the promising initial results demonstrated after just seven months of running the WCS 600 system. CPI’s pioneering work is of great value to the industry, and many companies interested in the technology have already taken the opportunity to visit CPI to get a first-hand impression. I am confident that CPI’s ALD expertise will accelerate the adoption of this disruptive barrier technology.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spatial ALD at low temperature for flexible electronics encapsulation using a BENEQ R2R

A recent paper on Spatial ALD at low temperature for flexible electronics encapsulation using a BENEQ R2R system at Advanced Surface Technology Research Laboratory Team (ASTRaL), Laboratory of Green Chemistry, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland. Thanks Henrik Pedersen for finding this one!

Philipp S. Maydannik, Alexander Plyushch, Mika Sillanpää, and David C. Cameron

Water and oxygen were compared as oxidizing agents for the Al2O3 atomic layer deposition process using spatial atomic layer deposition reactor. The influence of the precursor dose on the deposition rate and refractive index, which was used as a proxy for film density, was measured as a function of residence time, defined as the time which the moving substrate spent within one precursor gas zone. The effect of temperature on the growth characteristics was also measured. The water-based process gave faster deposition rates and higher refractive indices but the ozone process allowed deposition to take place at lower temperatures while still maintaining good film quality. In general, processes based on both oxidation chemistries were able to produce excellent moisture barrier films with water vapor transmission rate levels of 10−4 g/m2 day measured at 38 °C and 90% of relative humidity on polyethylene naphthalate substrates. However, the best result of <5 × 10−5 was obtained at 100 °C process temperature with water as precursor.

Schematic view of modified SALD TFS200R reactor with drum and N2 and precursor inlet, and exhaust ports. J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 33, 031603 (2015);
Close up inside the drum of the Beneq TFS 200R, which is  designed for research in Roll-to-Roll atomic layer deposition (ALD) and other forms of continuous ALD (CALD). (

Information from In the TFS 200R, the flexible substrate is fixed on a rotating cylinder within the reaction chamber. The cylinder itself is surrounded by a number of linear nozzles, each creating an isolated gas region over the full width of the substrate. As the cylinder is rotated, the substrate passes through different gas regions and is coated.

The Beneq TFS 200R, with its robust and modular structure, is designed to meet both industrial standards and the flexibility requirements of research today. Precursor containers are conveniently small, and they can be easily changed. Depending on the process needs, the TFS 200R can be equipped with up to 2 heated sources, type HS 80 and/or HS 180. Additionally, the system can be equipped with up to 8 gas lines and up to 4 liquid sources.