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Ahn S.,University of California at Berkeley | Hwang D.J.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Park H.K.,AppliFlex LLC | Grigoropoulos C.P.,University of California at Berkeley
Applied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing | Year: 2012

The rear contact solar cell concept has been implemented to increase the solar cell efficiency. Practically, it necessitates rapid fabrication of a large number of via holes to form low-loss current paths. It is not a trivial task to drill a number of microscopic holes through a typical Si wafer of ̃200 μm thickness at reasonable processing throughput and yield. In this research, a femtosecond laser is employed to drill via holes in both crystalline silicon (c-Si) and multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) thin wafers of ̃170 μm thickness with various laser parameters such as number of laser shots and pulse energy. Since a significantly high pulse energy compared to ablation threshold is mainly applied, aiming to achieve a rapid drilling process, the femtosecond laser beam is subjected to complex non-linear characteristics. Therefore, the relative placement of the sample with respect to the laser focal position is also rigorously examined. While the non-linear effect at high pulse energy regime is complex, it also facilitates the drilling process in terms of achieving high-aspect ratio, for example, by extending the effective depth of focus by non-linear effect. Cross-sectional morphological analysis in conjunction with on-line emission and shadowgraph imaging are carried out in order to elucidate the drilling mechanism. © Springer-Verlag 2012.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 199.99K | Year: 2012

NSF invites funding requests from current Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase II grantees to perform collaborative research with an Engineering Research Center (ERC). The goals of this collaborative effort are to provide a mutually beneficial research and commercialization platform where SBIR/STTR Phase II grantees can perform collaborative research with ERC faculty, researchers, and graduate students, to strengthen the capacity of their firms, and/or speed the transition of ERC advances to the marketplace. In accordance with the NSF solicitation NSF 10-617, AppliFlex LLC has submitted a request for additional funding. The sub-awardee identified in the supplemental request is Princeton University. This proposal/request meets the requirements of the solicitation NSF 10-023. This collaboration program offers an excellent opportunity to test AppliFlex's process in this unique mid-infrared wavelength by utilizing the capabilities and expertise of the Engineering Research Center on Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE). Both AppliFlex and MIRTHE share the same platform, mid-infrared light; AppliFlex focuses on mid-infrared laser materials processing and MIRTHE focuses on mid-infrared laser diagnostics. Therefore, the company and MIRTHE complement each other perfectly and together, they can synergistically maximize transformational mid-infrared technologies. AppliFlex LLC is a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II company. Vanderbilt University (Vanderbilt) is working with AppliFlex on the STTR grant. AppliFlex is proposing to work with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) Institute for Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and Environment (MIRTHE). MIRTHE is an active ERC headquartered at Princeton University, (Princeton) with partners including the City College New York, Johns Hopkins University, Rice, Texas A & M, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. AppliFlex is proposing to work with MIRTHE to develop a laser vapor deposition (LVD) for depositing thin films and heterostructures of polymer and functionalized nanoparticles. LVD utilizes mid-infrared laser to convert organic materials to a gaseous plume for deposition on surfaces with minimal photo-fragmentation. This collaboration between the small business and the universities will speed up market entry and aid expansion into adjacent markets for mid-infrared laser processing of materials. The research partners have complimentary skill sets with the small business having expertise in resonant excitation of organic and polymer materials with mid-infrared laser light, while the core mission of MIRTHE is the resonant absorption and sensing of materials with mid-infrared light. The innovation starts with the modeling and using matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE). The ERC and the small business and its STTR partner will be developing technologies that will potentially help the nation in detection of compounds important to health and security. Additional applications are also envisioned that will improve lives. Additionally, the research will be centered around training for graduate students at the two partner universities furthering the education of the workforce in science, engineering and math.


Park H.K.,AppliFlex LLC | Schriver K.E.,Vanderbilt University | Haglund Jr. R.F.,Vanderbilt University
Applied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing | Year: 2011

Polymers find a number of potentially useful applications in optoelectronic devices. These include both active layers, such as light-emitting polymers and hole-transport layers, and passive layers, such as polymer barrier coatings and light-management films. This paper reports the experimental results for polymer films deposited by resonant infrared matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation (RIR-MAPLE) and resonant infrared pulsed laser deposition (RIR-PLD) for commercial optoelectronic device applications. In particular, light-management films, such as anti-reflection coatings, require refractive-index engineering of a material. However, refractive indices of polymers fall within a relatively narrow range, leading to major efforts to develop both low- and high-refractive-index polymers. Polymer nanocomposites can expand the range of refractive indices by incorporating low- or high-refractive-index nanoscale materials. RIR-MAPLE is an excellent technique for depositing polymer-nanocomposite films in multilayer structures, which are essential to light-management coatings. In this paper, we report our efforts to engineer the refractive index of a barrier polymer by combining RIR-MAPLE of nanomaterials (for example, high refractive-index TiO 2 nanoparticles) and RIR-PLD of host polymer. In addition, we report on the properties of organic and polymer films deposited by RIR-MAPLE and/or RIR-PLD, such as Alq 3 [tris(8-hydroxyquinoline) aluminum] and PEDOT:PSS [poly(3,4- ethylenedioxythiophene): poly(styrenesulfonate)]. Finally, the challenges and potential for commercializing RIR-MAPLE/PLD, such as industrial scale-up issues, are discussed. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2012

ABSTRACT: This project will apply resonant infrared pulsed laser ablation techniques to deposit environmentally-durable, adherent and conformal anti-reflection (AR) coating on a plastic (polycarbonate) substrate. The proposed broadband AR coating is based on a multilayer architecture of low-refractive index polymer and high-refractive index polymer or polymer hybrid materials. High quality polymer films can be deposited by resonant infrared pulsed laser deposition (RIR-PLD) method while polymer composite films can be deposited by resonant infrared matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation (RIR-MAPLE) and their combinations. Model material systems will be designed and compared by appropriate mathematical modeling. Optical transmission, reflection and scattering will be measured with standard optical metrology techniques. The flexibility of RIR-MAPLE and RIR-PLD allows the deposition of a wide variety of materials including chemically resistant (insoluble) barrier polymers and nanoparticles embedded in polymer matrix to enhance durability and engineer the refractive index. A hybrid scheme with RIR-MAPLE and RIR-PLD along with a multi-target carousel further enlarges the palette of materials that can be deposited in vacuum for achieving unprecedented optical and mechanical coating properties. BENEFIT: The anticipated result of the proposed approach is an environmentally durable AR coating on polymer substrates. Specifically, the outcome of this project will allow the deposition of adherent and non-delaminating coatings onto polymer surfaces. If proven successful, it is possible to enhance significantly the quality of AR-coating on widely used plastic substrates, as more than a half of population wears corrective eyewear and/or sunglasses. In addition, the outcome of this project will have a proof of concept for commercialization of this novel technique for thin-film organic opto-electronics devices such as organic light emitting diode (OLED) and light management films for displays. The success of this project will have an impact to the America"s competitiveness in manufacturing and job creation.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.99K | Year: 2009

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase II project seeks to commercialize an innovative technology for depositing thin films and heterostructures of functional polymers, functionalized nanoparticles and nanoparticle-loaded polymers. Laser vapor deposition (LVD - trademarked) can be used to increase efficiency and reduce cost of thin-film devices as varied as organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), organic solar cells and polymer chemosensors. This project will prove that LVD can meet industrial production requirements by (a) performing scaling studies of the process-throughout versus laser power in various process configurations and (b) building a table-top mid-infrared laser prototype using nonlinear optical frequency conversion from a commercially available high-power near-infrared laser. This objective will be supported by thorough studies on the physical mechanism of laser-materials interaction under mid-infrared vibrational excitation. The outcome of this project will also provide the development roadmap for high power industrial lasers for materials processing applications in mid-infrared wavelength spectrum. The broader impact/commercial potential from this technology will be the technique for mass production of thin-film organic optoelectronics devices. For example, the OLED is an energy-efficient display and solid-state lighting device. Widespread adoption of solid-state lighting products such as white-light OLEDs could cut the US consumption of electricity for lighting by 29%, while saving the nation's households about $125 billion in the process, according to the Department of Energy. It would also reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thereby improving the environment. Furthermore, LVD will accelerate the penetration of organic electronics into the consumer space and create new applications such as flexible displays. Just as polymers have replaced metal in everything from children's toys to automobiles, polymers are revolutionizing electronics and optoelectronics by reducing costs and opening new markets for devices such as polymer electronics and nanostructured displays. In addition, the blueprint of table-top high-power lasers developed in this process will provide a new path into ultra-short-pulse laser materials processing applications in the near and mid-infrared.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.00K | Year: 2011

This project proposes to develop versatile, lithography-free technology for fabricating high-performance polymer photonic devices. This innovation utilizes laser processing to achieve low-cost, simplified production method without compromising the performance necessary for high-speed optical telecommunication devices. The proposed approach is a (a) flexible fabrication platform spanning from nano to macro scales without retooling of complex equipment, (b) non-contact method, free from parasitic effects of mold contact, (c) ambient processing technique, scalable to large-area process, and (d) digital, on-demand, agile manufacturing technique. Laser patterning and annealing can modify and improve the photonic polymer structures and properties, thus enabling the high performance device characteristics without large transmission loss due to scattering. The proposed approach provides streamlined, scalable, direct-write manufacturing protocols for flexible polymer photonic devices compared to the traditional photolithography and ion etching.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 199.99K | Year: 2011

NSF invites funding requests from current Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase II grantees to perform collaborative research with an Engineering Research Center (ERC). The goals of this collaborative effort are to provide a mutually beneficial research and commercialization platform where SBIR/STTR Phase II grantees can perform collaborative research with ERC faculty, researchers, and graduate students, to strengthen the capacity of their firms, and/or speed the transition of ERC advances to the marketplace.

In accordance with the NSF solicitation NSF 10-617, AppliFlex LLC has submitted a request for additional funding. The sub-awardee identified in the supplemental request is Princeton University. This proposal/request meets the requirements of the solicitation NSF 10-023.

This collaboration program offers an excellent opportunity to test AppliFlexs process in this unique mid-infrared wavelength by utilizing the capabilities and expertise of the Engineering Research Center on Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE). Both AppliFlex and MIRTHE share the same platform, mid-infrared light; AppliFlex focuses on mid-infrared laser materials processing and MIRTHE focuses on mid-infrared laser diagnostics. Therefore, the company and MIRTHE complement each other perfectly and together, they can synergistically maximize transformational mid-infrared technologies.

AppliFlex LLC is a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II company. Vanderbilt University (Vanderbilt) is working with AppliFlex on the STTR grant. AppliFlex is proposing to work with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) Institute for Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and Environment (MIRTHE). MIRTHE is an active ERC headquartered at Princeton University, (Princeton) with partners including the City College New York, Johns Hopkins University, Rice, Texas A&M, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. AppliFlex is proposing to work with MIRTHE to develop a laser vapor deposition (LVD) for depositing thin films and heterostructures of polymer and functionalized nanoparticles. LVD utilizes mid-infrared laser to convert organic materials to a gaseous plume for deposition on surfaces with minimal photo-fragmentation. This collaboration between the small business and the universities will speed up market entry and aid expansion into adjacent markets for mid-infrared laser processing of materials. The research partners have complimentary skill sets with the small business having expertise in resonant excitation of organic and polymer materials with mid-infrared laser light, while the core mission of MIRTHE is the resonant absorption and sensing of materials with mid-infrared light. The innovation starts with the modeling and using matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE).

The ERC and the small business and its STTR partner will be developing technologies that will potentially help the nation in detection of compounds important to health and security. Additional applications are also envisioned that will improve lives. Additionally, the research will be centered around training for graduate students at the two partner universities furthering the education of the workforce in science, engineering and math.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2010

Electron microscopy and micro-characterization capabilities are important in the materials and biological sciences and are used in numerous research projects. Achieving a fundamental under


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.81K | Year: 2011

Advanced electron microscopy and micro-characterization capabilities are critical for research in the materials and biological sciences and in particular for the development of nanotechnology to answer the growing needs to protect our environment, increase energy efficiency and develop clean energy sources. Achieving a fundamental understanding of materials nucleation and growth phenomena at the nanoscale is critical for nanotechnology and necessitates an experimental environment in which the important atomistic processes can be studied as they are occurring. The proposed innovation is based on a revolutionary, yet practical method for simultaneous nanoscale imaging of nanofabrication processes by integrating tip-based pulsed laser radiation sources within a transmission electron microscope. Nanoscale confinement of radiation fields of enhanced intensity underneath a tip-based probe enables a wide range of materials modification processes that open up an entirely new avenue for the definition and processing of nanostructures, while at the same time allowing for direct in-situ observation of the fundamental processes. During our Phase I project, we demonstrated delivery of a laser beam in optical near-field to a sample inside a transmission electron microscope for an in-situ imaging of a material undergoing nano-scale melting and recrystallization. This new capability remarkably enabled observation of the conversion of amorphous nanodomain precursors to single nanocrystals. The prototype in-situ probe holder developed during the Phase I project combines (a) photonic (laser) excitation in nanoscale, (b) in-situ transmission electron microscope imaging, and (c) simultaneous optical spectroscopic characterization of material properties. In this Phase II project, we will develop this prototype into a viable commercial product, a modular attachment kit to standard electron microscope instruments, to provide researchers in all aspects of science and technology with a powerful research tool to push the frontiers of science. This will be accomplished with systematic experiments to determine the optimal optical probe and detector configurations and the design and assembly of a prototype. Furthermore, the prototype will be tested in the real scientific studies of in-situ characterization of nanowire growth and the synthesis of nanostructures. The proposed product will enable a widespread adoption of unique facility for the in-situ nanoscale observation of laser material modification and nanomaterials growth processes. This entirely new capability will have a profound impact to the fields of materials science, nanofabrication, and the adoption of nanotechnology into marketplace.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2009

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project will investigate transparent metal oxide nanostructures, especially zinc oxide and titanium oxide, suitable for a wide range of applications that require transparent conductors. If successful this project will create low cost transparent electrodes for applications such as LCD displays, touch screens, and solar cells.

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