Laser Induced Forward Transfer (LIFT) is a key enabling technology for large area processing of printed electronics capable to print a wide range of materials rapidly and digitally. A major barrier for large scale implementation and adoption of the technology is the current achievable printing resolution, commonly reliably limited to the tens of micron. SIMLIFT or Single Micron LIFT aims to be a transformative development of the technology, overcoming current limits and refining its resolution to a new reliable level.
In LIFT, a donor substrate ink carrier is locally irradiated by a short pulse laser causing the transfer of material from the donor layer to a receiving substrate. The donor layer and laser processing are keys for precision patterning. To address the challenge of reliable single micron patterning, SIMLIFT will analyse the effect of varying thin film donor deposition processes (namely spin coating, blade coating, forward roll coating) on the donor film morphology and resulting transfer; it will explore the interaction with varying laser pulse duration that dictates the physical ejection mechanism (namely from nanosecond, picosecond, to femtosecond level duration pulsed lasers). The accuracy of laser processing will be further explored through the novel integration of new microlens arrays for affordable accurate digital patterning.
For the first time, influencing parameters will be systematically analysed and compared at a dimensional scale close to that of the laser wavelength; introducing novelty both in donor deposition and laser processing with the exploration of forward roll coating as a new large-area electronics (LAE) compatible donor layer deposition method. Gains are expected through the new adoption of microlens arrays for accurate digital patterning by lasers. This research will provide a new insight and scalable technological solutions leading to unique enhancement of the technology to SIMLIFT for large scale adoption of technology for digital processing.