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Rochester, NY, United States

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 2.92M | Year: 2014

The world around us is full of modern technology designed to make our lives safer, more comfortable and more efficient. Such technology is made possible by materials and devices that are able to interact with their surrounding environment either by sensing or acting upon it. Examples of such devices include motion detectors, fuel injectors, engine sensors and medical diagnostic tools. These interactive devices contain functional materials that can pose health hazards, are obtained from parts of the world where supply cannot be guaranteed or are relatively scarce. If access to these functional materials is restricted, many of these advances will no longer be available resulting in a reduction in living standards and decreased UK economic growth. There already exist a number of replacement materials that can provide the same functions without the same levels of concerns around safety, security of supply and sustainability. However, these replacement materials need to be manufactured using different processes compared to existing materials. This project explores new manufacturing technologies that could be used to create interactive devices that contains less harmful and sustainable materials with a secure supply. This project will focus on two types of material - thermoelectric and piezoelectric - where the replacement materials share a set of common challenges: they need to be processed at elevated temperatures; they contain elements that evaporate at high temperatures (making high temperature processing and processing of small elements difficult); they are mechanically fragile making it difficult to shape the materials by cutting, grinding or polishing; they are chemically stable making it difficult to shape them by etching; and many are air and moisture sensitive. The proposed research will address these challenges through three parallel research streams that proactively engage with industry. The first stream is composed of six manufacturing capability projects designed to develop the core manufacturing capabilities and know-how to support the programme. The second is a series of short term feasibility studies, conducted in collaboration with industry, to explore novel manufacturing concepts and evaluate their potential opportunities. Finally, the third stream will deliver focussed industrially orientated projects designed to develop specific manufacturing techniques for in an industrial manufacturing environment. The six manufacturing capability projects will address: 1) The production of functional material powders, using wet and dry controlled atmosphere techniques, needed as feedstock in the manufacture of bulk and printed functional materials. 2) How to produce functional materials while maintaining the required chemistry and microstructure to ensure high performance. Spark Plasma Sintering will be used to directly heat the materials and accelerate fusion of the individual powder particles using an electric current. 3) Printing of functional material inks to build up active devices without the need to assemble individual components. Combing industrially relevant printing processes, such as screen printing, with controlled rapid temperature treatments will create novel print manufacturing techniques capable of handling the substitute materials. 4) How to join and coat these new functional materials so that they can be assembled into a device or protected from harsh environments when in use. 5) The fitness of substituted material to be compatible with existing shaping and treatment stages found later in the manufacturing chain. 6) The need to ensure that the substitute materials do not pose an equal or greater risk within the manufacturing and product life cycle environment. Here lessons learned from comparable material systems will be used to help predict potential risks and exposures.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: NMP-04-2014 | Award Amount: 7.89M | Year: 2015

The EU is well placed to exploit printed electronic technologies to create greater economic and social benefits for the EU, but only if we are able to commercialise innovative technologies created within the EU. Ink jet printing technologies are at the forefront of printed electronic developments. However, Ink jet printing has only been able to achieve a resolution of >=10um and the viscosity of printable inks is limited to <40 centipoise, this further limits the solids content of inks to <30-Vol% and the size of the nano-fillers to <50nm typically. These factors limit the range of functional inks that can be printed as well as the resolution and final properties of the resultant printed/sintered structures and components. The HI-RESPONSE project is based on highly innovative, patented Electro-static printing technology (ESJET) that has already been proven on TRL 4 to print to a resolution of 1um and be able to print inks with a viscosity of up to 40.000 cP. The resultant printed/sintered structures will therefore be able to achieve a high resolution and increase final component properties through enabling the printing of highly filled nano-inks and functional organic materials. This technology will be further developed to TRL 6 within the project to allow for the design and assembly of a multi-head system that can achieve resolution, speeds and cost that far surpassed that of current ink-jet systems. The resultant system will be demonstrated at TRL 6 for a wide range of materials, including: nano-Cu and nano-ceramic filled inks and organic polymers. Each of these materials will be printed to create components specifically defined and specified by the industrial organisations within the consortium: Infineon, Ficosa, Piher (Meggitt) and Zytronic. The specific end-user defined applications are: Automotive aerials and sensors, metal meshed for OLED and touch screens, conductive through silicon vias and mechanical strengthening ribs for thin Si-wafers.

Intrinsiq Materials | Date: 2015-11-03

A method for filling a via on a printed circuit board formulates a paste as a dispersion of copper particulate that includes nanocopper particles in a solvent and a binder and depositing the paste into a via cavity formed in the printed circuit board. Heating the paste-filled cavity removes most of the solvent. The method sinters the deposited paste in the via cavity, planarizes the sintered via, and overplates the filled via with copper.

The NanoPhoSolar project aims to overcome the limitations relating to the efficiency and performance of a range of photovoltaic (PV) systems by developing a transparent NanoPhosphor down converting material capable of absorbing Ultra Violet (UV) and short wavelength visible light and re-emitting in the more useful longer wavelength visible spectrum(range 525-850nm). This will enable the efficiency of Photovoltaic (PV) cells to be increased by an additional 10% for silicon PV and 25.8% for Cigs or cadmium telluride PV and potentially increase system lifetime. By doing this, the PV system created will offer greatly improved environmental performance due to capture of a larger proportion of the incident visible spectrum. This will lead to significant economic and societal benefits to consumers and manufacturers. The SME consortium target a total in-process coating technology market penetration of 5.5% when applied in the manufacturing process and 0.25% when as applied to existing installed PV systems within a 5 year period post project, achieving direct annual sales of over 66 million, ~470 new jobs and annual CO2 emissions savings of 154,697 tonnes per annum. The project results are expected to benefit other SMEs in the PV and materials processing industry sectors.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: NMP.2013.4.0-3 | Award Amount: 4.80M | Year: 2013

The EU has lost a significant share of the electronics manufacture sector to the Far East, resulting in a negative trade balance of >100bn/year within this sector. This is (in part) due to the current manufacturing technologies that are based on subtractive processing that are expensive, wasteful and energy intensive, making manufacture in the EU economically and environmentally unfeasible. Printed electronics is set to revolutionise the electronics industry by enabling direct, additive processing that significantly reduces capital and operating costs as well as massively reducing process hazardous chemical waste and energy. Currently the EU dominates the innovation and technological know-how in printed electronics. It is very important that this intellectual capital that Europe developed is translated to direct economic benefits by ensuring that manufacture is retained within the EU. However, there are barriers that are preventing widespread adoption of printed electronics including the availability of cost effective, high performance electronic inks, lack of awareness of end-users and lack of integration of individual printed components into large systems. PLASMAS directly builds on world-leading nano-materials, printing and display device technologies developed and patented by the consortium members. Our consortium is unique in that it covers the entire supply chain and also in terms of its ambition. PLASMAS directly addresses the current commercialisation barriers by demonstrating the capability of technology (based on novel copper and silicon inks with favourable cost to performance ratios) through development of printed circuit boards and printed logic as well as displays with printed copper and silicon-based back panels and established self-emissive OLEDs and reflective low power Electro-Chromic elements. PLASMAS will make a significant step forward in commercialising these technologies and ensuring that the commercial benefits are maximised for the EU.

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