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Encapsulation films, in-line deposition, ALD and flexible glass

A large opportunity lies in the development of devices in a flexible form factor that can operate without deterioration in performance, allowing them to be more robust, lightweight and versatile in their use. In order for flexible displays and photovoltaics to be commercially successful, they must be robust enough to survive for the necessary time and conditions required of the device. This condition has been a limitation of many flexible, organic or printable electronics. This highlights the fact that beyond flexibility, printability and functionality, one of the most important requirements is encapsulation as many of the materials used in printed or organic electronic displays are chemically sensitive, and will react with many environmental components such as oxygen and moisture.

These materials can be protected using substrates and barriers such as glass and metal, but this results in a rigid device and does not satisfy the applications demanding flexible devices. Plastic substrates and transparent flexible encapsulation barriers can be used, but these offer little protection to oxygen and water, resulting in the devices rapidly degrading.

In order to achieve device lifetimes of tens of thousands of hours, water vapor transmission rates (WVTR) must be 10-6 g/m2/day, and oxygen transmission rates (OTR) must be < 10-3 cm3/m2/day. For Organic Photovoltaics, the required WVTR is not as stringent as OLEDs require but is still very high at a level of 10-5 g/m2/day. These transmission rates are several orders of magnitude smaller than what is possible using any conventional plastic substrate, and they can also be several orders of magnitude smaller than what can be measured using common equipment designed for this purpose.

For these (and other) reasons, there has been intense interest in developing transparent barrier materials with much lower permeabilities, a market that will reach over $200 million by 2025.


This report from IDTechEx gives an in-depth review of the needs, emerging solutions and players. It addresses specific topics such as:
- Companies which are active in the development of high barrier films and their achievements on the field to date. The report covers a range of approaches in encapsulation, such as dyads, deposition of inorganic layers on plastic substrates and flexible glass.
- Surface smoothness and defects (such as cracks and pinholes) and the effect that these would have on the barrier behavior of the materials studied.
- Traditional methods of measurement of permeability are reaching the end of their abilities. The MOCON WVTR measurement device, which has been an industry standard, cannot give adequate measurements at the low levels of permeability required for technologies such as organic photovoltaics and OLEDs. Other methods of measurement and equipment developed are being discussed.
- Forecasts for displays, lighting and thin film photovoltaics (in terms of market value as well as area of barrier film sold into different verticals), in order to understand the influence that the development of flexible barriers would have at the mass deployment and adoption of these technologies.

For those developing flexible electronics, seeking materials needs and opportunities, this is a must-read report.

Table Of Contents

Barrier Layers for Flexible Electronics 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts
1. SCOPE
2. BARRIER TECHNOLOGY REACHING MATURITY - COMMERCIALIZATION STATUS.
2.1. Trend within major display companies
2.1.1. Samsung
2.1.2. LG
2.1.3. Others
2.2. TFE vs. Barrier Lamination
2.3. ML barrier on Flexible Plastics vs. Flexible Glass.
2.4. Single or multi-layer?
2.5. Flexible substrate handling
2.6. Atomic layer deposition present and future outlook/market share
3. INTRODUCTION TO ENCAPSULATION
4. SURFACE SMOOTHNESS - DEFECTS
4.1. Important considerations of surface smoothness
4.2. Micro Defects
4.2.1. Pinholes - particles
4.2.2. Smoothness / Cracks-Scratches
4.2.3. Nanodefects
5. BARRIER TECHNOLOGIES: PAST DEVELOPMENTS
5.1. Vitex
5.2. GE
6. ADVANCES IN BARRIER MANUFACTURING PROCESSES
7. BARRIER ADHESIVES
7.1. DELO
7.2. tesa
7.3. 3M
7.4. Henkel
8. COMPANY PROFILES
8.1. Deposition of dyads or inorganic layers on polymer substrates
8.1.1. Toppan Printing
8.1.2. Vitriflex
8.1.3. Holst Centre - TNO
8.1.4. Mitsubishi
8.1.5. Toray Industries Inc
8.1.6. 3M
8.1.7. Amcor
8.1.8. Tera-Barrier
8.1.9. Fujifilm
8.1.10. UDC
8.1.11. Konica Minolta
8.1.12. Samsung
8.1.13. Honeywell
8.1.14. LG Display
8.1.15. Applied Materials
8.2. Other companies developing polymer-based films
8.2.1. Dow Chemical
8.2.2. Jindal
8.3. Flexible glass
8.3.1. Schott AG
8.3.2. Corning
8.3.3. Asahi Glass Company (AGC)
8.3.4. Nippon Electric Glass (NEG)
8.4. ALD deposition for flexible barriers
8.4.1. Lotus
8.4.2. Beneq
8.4.3. Encapsulix
8.5. Other approaches
8.5.1. CNM Technologies
8.5.2. 3M
9. ADDRESSABLE MARKET SEGMENTS FOR BARRIER FILM TECHNOLOGIES
9.1. OLED displays - OLED lighting
9.2. OTFTs
9.3. Liquid Crystal Displays - Electrophoretic Displays
9.4. OPV
9.5. CIGS - amorphous Si
10. BARRIER MEASUREMENTS
10.1. The Calcium test
10.2. MOCON
10.3. Vinci Technologies
10.4. SEMPA
10.5. VG Scienta
10.6. Fluorescent Tracers
10.7. Black Spot Analysis
10.8. Tritium Test
10.9. CEA
10.10. 3M
10.11. IMRE
10.12. Mass Spectroscopy - gas permeation (WVTR and OTR potential applications)
10.13. Kisco Uniglobe
11. FORECASTS FOR BARRIER FILMS FOR FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS 2015-2025
11.1. The potential significance of organic and printed inorganic electronics
11.2. Barrier films market size
11.3. Flexible glass or inorganic layers on plastic substrates?
12. CONCLUSIONS

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