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Posted: June 13, 2008
USDC Awards Contract to Sigma Technologies to Develop New Display Coatings
(Nanowerk News) The U.S. Display Consortium (USDC), a public/private partnership chartered with developing the flexible electronics and displays industry supply chain, today announced a $280,000 cost-shared award to Sigma Technologies International, Inc. to develop and demonstrate new conductive, transparent polymer-based coatings for use in flexible displays, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and other applications such as solar collectors and image sensors. Sigma has demonstrated its ability to successfully produce these new coatings with an economical process that achieves a film thickness of as little as 2-3 nanometers. The project's goal is aimed at developing this alternative material for broader and more cost-effective commercial use.
In this project, Sigma will determine the performance of silver nanoflakes for use in preparing transparent conductive coatings. Nanoflakes of indium tin oxide (ITO) and silver will be formulated into thin-film coatings using several conductive polymer binders. The proposed coatings are expected to have higher conductivity than conventional nanosilver-based coatings, and higher transparency over polymer-only conductive coatings or silver and ITO nanoparticle-based coatings.
"Through this project with USDC, Sigma intends to solve the current coating materials compromise we often face between achieving good conductivity and good optical properties," explained Dr. Angelo Yializis, chief executive officer of Sigma. "Our novel fabrication approach for making thin sheets of nanoflakes has the potential to achieve good conductivity without this optical trade-off."
Chief Technology Officer of USDC, Dr. Mark Hartney, commented, "An important part of this program includes developing a cost model for the nanoflake polymer combinations. To replace sputtered ITO, as used today, these nanoflakes will need to meet both technical performance and manufacturing cost targets." Sigma will prepare a preliminary assessment of the stability of the materials under various environmental factors.
"I am pleased that Sigma Technologies has been awarded this competitive contract from USDC to provide solutions to improve the manufacturing of flexible displays and other innovative products," said United States representative, Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz., 8th District). "This award represents R&D being conducted in the Tucson area for the newly emerging flexible and printed electronics industry. Consequently, Sigma Technologies is strengthening Arizona's economic and technology-base."
The USDC program is a collaborative effort of private industry and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, located in Adelphi, Maryland.
USDC is an industry-led public/private partnership providing a common platform for flat panel display and flexible electronics manufacturers and developers, integrators, and the supplier base. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., the consortium's primary mission is to identify and manage R&D projects and share results with USDC member companies. The USDC also provides a communication channel among industry, government and the financial communities; sponsors forums to broaden the impact of technological developments; and educates consumers on the importance of emerging technology. More information about the USDC can be found at www.usdc.org and www.fpoelectronics.org.
About Sigma Technologies International
Sigma Technologies Int'l develops leading edge technologies in the areas of thin-film coating and surface functionalization, providing solutions for both roll-to-roll and batch processes. Headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, Sigma manufactures innovative turnkey coating and surface treatment systems that include large scale atmospheric and vacuum plasma treatment systems and metallization and polymer coating equipment for a variety of applications that include flexible electronics, food and biomedical packaging, and energy management and storage. Sigma has recently made a large investment in a state-of-the-art production facility for manufacturing materials ranging from specialty pigments to functional films and nonwovens. More information can be found at www.sigmalabs.com