Europe has many world class companies that manufacture high volume products using large area substrates. These companies serve established markets like paper and packaging as well as emerging markets such as printed electronics, which is expected to exceed a value of $300 billion in about 20 years. The lower cost, superior performance, robustness, flexibility, thinness, environmental benefits and superior fault tolerance of theseflexible, printable technologies, relative to their rigid counterpart, may well mean it will replace many existing technologies. For example; conventional displays and silicon based photovoltaics, as well as creating new products, applications and markets, such as ultra low cost “disposable electronics” on retail packaging and large area sensors. Europe now has an opportunity to lead in the development and manufacturing of a wide range of these printable electronics commodities as well as new paper and packaging products. It is therefore in the interest of European manufacturing that NanoMend develops technologies that will enhance the performance and lower the cost of these products, making them more competitive.
Why are defects so detrimental to product quality?
Micro and nano scale defects at different stages in the manufacturing process reduce efficiency, longevity and manufacturing yield. For example; nano-scale defects in barrier films allow water vapour to pass through, degrading the product over time, and defects in metal interconnects can also cause short circuits, which result in high value products being scrapped. To address these problems, integrated, in-line detection, cleaning and repair technologies need to be developed. The current state-of-the-art faces the challenge of speed versus resolution, and cleaning and repair techniques are not able to cope with micro and nano-scale defects. Furthermore, defect identification and repair usually lags the development of a novel technology, which reduces the potential yield. It is therefore necessary to go beyond the current state-of-the-art, which is the objective of NanoMend.