ROLL-TO-PLATE IMPRINTING

R2P nanoimprint technology

Roll-to-plate nanoimprint lithography is cost-effective and opens up a new range of applications

Roll-to-Plate nanoimprint lithography

Imprinting (or embossing) is a patterning technology that is used for the replication of micro- and nanotextures into a thin UV-curable lacquer; this way a pattern is created in the surface of this material (a topography). Roll-to-roll (R2R) imprinting is not new and is already used by several high tech companies for quite some time to create kilometers of textured film. Also, small-size UV Nano Imprint Lithography (UV-NIL) is already available for imprinting of resists on wafers. However, these technologies do not offer a solution for the issues you have to deal with when applying structured layers on large-area rigid surfaces at a cost needed to enter targeted markets.

Morphotonics has developed a unique roll-to-plate (R2P) nanoimprint technology, which is flexible and can be used for pilot- and mass production. The technology is cost-effective and due to the special properties of the flex stamps, it opens up a wide new range of product applications.

Innovation

Roll-to-plate nanoimprint lithography enables light management structures on top of substrates and products in a single layer.

Light management layers are key in improving the performance of various products. Solar, display and lighting panels in particular benefit from these layers. Morphotonics focuses on direct imprinting of these light management layers on planar substrates and products. The innovative roll-to-plate imprint technology enables high quality structured layers on glass and glass-based devices at the lowest cost possible. In addition to glass also polymer or metal plates and sheets can be imprinted with this technology.

With the Morphotonics technology the light management layer consists of only one material in a single layer. This single layer approach opens markets where multi-layered structured films (foils) cannot be used. Single layer excels in outdoor stability, optical properties and high temperature applications.

 

 

Direct imprinting process

  1.  Our roll-to-plate imprint process uses a flexible stamp. This flexible stamp (also called soft mold or masterfilm) contains the inverse of the desired micro- or nanostructure.
  2. After coating the substrate or stamp with the imprint material, the flex stamp is rolled onto the substrate with the UV curable imprint material in between.
  3. The rolling movement ensures that no air is entrapped and also enables a line-contact of which the pressure can be controlled to achieve a certain layer thickness. Due to its flexibility the stamp can deal with surface irregularities and uneven substrates.
  4. After UV curing through the stamp, the stamp is delaminated. Thanks to its flexibility, the separation of the stamp from the imprinted substrate is very easy. After separation the stamp reused to imprint the next substrate. The stamp can be reused more than 500 times making this a very cost effective process.
Structures with dimensions from 500 micrometer down to 50 nanometer can be imprinted with the Morphotonics technology.

The conventional technology: laminating a film

Conventionally, optical (textured) films are produced roll-to-roll and are laminated onto the substrate or product by the device manufacturer.

These textured films consist of a carrier foil, the functional textured layer and an adhesive layer to adhere the film to the plate.

Usually, the film will be supplied with liners on both sides of the film to protect the adhesive and textured layers. The optical film consists of at least 3 layers. Each layer consists of a different material with at least 3 different interfaces between these materials and the product.

Needless to say, all these extra layers will make the total product thicker, in a world where everybody wants its products to be thinner. But more important, all these layers can have negative impact in optical performance, durability and cost.

 

Benefits of direct imprinting vs. adding textured film

With the Morphotonics roll-to-plate nanoimprinting technology the texture is applied to the substrate or product directly. This provides several advantages:

  • Improved cost-effectiveness
  • No carrier foil, adhesive layer or liners needed
  • No waste due to cutting of film
  • No optical losses
  • No need to apply the film, so less labour intensive
  • No risk of air bubbles between carrier foil and substrate during lamination, proper X-Y alignment assured
  • Thinnest possible layer
  • Optical properties can be easily tuned to product
  • Outdoor durable materials can be used
  • High temperature resistant materials can be used
  • High flexibility in production; the structure design is changed by simply changing the stamp

 

 

 

OUR TECHNOLOGY

nanotechnology morphotonics icon

Nanotechnology

Micro- and nanostructures can enhance the photonic properties of a surface. We develop and apply a large range of micro- and nanopatterns for all kinds of applications.

Roll-to-plate nanoimprint

Our roll-to-plate (R2P) nanoimprint technology uses an advanced flexible stamp and can be used for imprinting structures on small and large surfaces.

Flex stamps

We create stamps for the roll-to-plate nanoimprinting process. The flex stamp is used as a masterfilm and rolled into the resin to fabricate the textured product.

Research & Development

Our engineers gladly work together with you to develop the best structures, stamps, samples, imprinting tools and materials for your application.