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.

 

For more information, please contact:

Dr Mikko Söderlund
Head of Thin Film Encapsulation Solutions, Beneq
Tel: +358 40 848 5036
e-mail: mikko.soderlund(at)beneq.com

Dr Alf Smith
Research and Development Manager, CPI
Tel: +44 (0) 1740 625 732
e-mail: alf.smith(at)uk-cpi.com

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The Centre for Process Innovation is a UK-based technology innovation hub and part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. CPI uses applied knowledge in science and engineering combined with state-of-the-art facilities to enable their clients to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes.
www.uk-cpi.com

Beneq Thin Film Equipment, leading supplier of production and research equipment for thin film coatings, also offers extensive thin film job coating services. Beneq equipment and thin film experience is used for enhancing the durability of organic electronics, improving the efficiency of crystalline silicon and thin film solar cells and protecting silver from tarnishing. Beneq acclaimed thin film research equipment are in daily use around the world.
www.beneq.com

 

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Application examples

  • Chip-level ALD moisture barrier for components on tape
  • ALD anti-corrosion coating for semiconductor equipment parts
  • ALD gate dielectric for GaN power devices
  • ALD gate insulator for displays
  • Ultimate moisture barriers for OLED micro-displays from Beneq
  • Lumineq EL40S electroluminescent display by Beneq
  • Transparent electrode for displays by Beneq ALD
  • ALD is the ultimate moisture barrier for PCBs
  • Beneq FBR ALD reactor for moisture barriers of phospor powder
  • Beneq ALD coatings offer protection against corrosion in LED packaging.
  • Beneq ALD provides metal-like coatings for watch parts and fine mechanics.
  • Beneq ALD coatings for wafer-level moisture protection
  • Beneq ALD coatings provide high-quality reflectors for LED
  • Beneq ALD coatings boost the performance of diffractive gratings
  • Beneq provides ALD coatings to protect electronics components from corrosion
  • ALD coatings provide interface layers between materials in CIGS panels.
  • Beneq ALD coatings increase the lifetime of Li-Ion batteries
  • ALD is ideal for optical filters on complex surfaces.
  • Beneq ALD optical coatings increase the lifetime of high power lasers
  • ALD-based conformal moisture barrier coatings for microchannel plates from Beneq.
  • OLED lighting encapsulation with Beneq TFS 600. Fully automated and vacuum-line integrated. For industrial OLED encapsulation.
  • X-ray imaging scintillator plate encapsulation with Beneq Coating Services and Beneq P800 batch coating products

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