Nanofabrication Technologies for Roll-to-Roll Processing


The roll-to-roll (R2R) platform is an industrial vetted way to handle solution-based processes and coatings for high volume manufacturing. R2R processes are implemented for applications as diverse as instant photographic film, separation membranes, filtration media, advance printing and holographic coatings, polymer anti-shatter films for car windshields, flexible solar panels, composite electrodes on metal foils for lithium-ion batteries, and macroscale patterning of metal interconnects for flexible packaging of electronic components. Currently, manufacturers are looking for new innovative continuous-feed processes for printing materials and structures onto roll-based flexible substrates. In particular there is considerable interest in adapting R2R technologies for the extreme miniaturization of critical feature sizes to the nanoscale. This intersection of nanofabrication with R2R processes has considerable potential to spur innovation and economic growth. Nanofabrication for R2R process platforms represents a disruptive manufacturing technology involving solution-processed, multi-layer precision coatings with functionalized nanostructures, materials, and patterning capability to realize unprecedented properties and functionalities for next generation consumer products. Commercial products and applications impacted by this approach include displays, lighting, energy storage, electronics, solar photovoltaics. These high-value consumer electronics predicted to see double-digit market growth beyond the next decade (IDTechEx 2009-2029 Market Report). Incorporation of emerging nanofabrication methods within R2R manufacturing processes will make it possible to economically generate high value-added technology products at meters-per-minute rates on plastic film, paper, or foil, achieving feature dimensions as small as ten nanometers over areas encompassing billions of identical devices. Meeting this challenge is a key to high-rate manufacturing of nano-enabled products and for establishing viable industrial-scale manufacturing platforms for continuous large-area roll-to-roll processing

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