Project develops flexible glass substrate for printed organic electronics

April 05, 2017 //By Nick Flaherty
Ultra-thin flexible glass at Schott
A German research project has developed flexible glass that is just 25 microns thick that can be used as the substrate for organic printed electronics and solar cells.

The Konfekt research consortium is demonstrating the first results of its work at the VISION | Flexible Glass event at Fraunhofer FEP in Dresden, Germany this week. The consortium includes the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, SCHOTT, VON ARDENNE and adhesive tape maker tesa.

The ultra-thin glass has a thickness up to 150um and is produced at Schott’s plant in Grünenplan, Germany, using a down draw process for direct hot forming where the molten glass is pulled through a nozzle in the desired thickness levels. The key is that the glass can be used on a roll-to-roll process for low cost, high volume manufacturing and the process is currently being further developed and optimized through mid-2018. Adhesive tape maker tesa gives the glass its finish by laminating it with specialty adhesives and functional layers.

Using a flexible glass substrate offers a wide range of benefits in optical quality, temperature stability, chemical consistency, gas density and mechanical resistance say the researchers. This could also be used as the substrate for low cost solar cells.

“With its reputation as a leading research and development center for the processing of flexible glass, Fraunhofer FEP is in a position to gather many of the global key players within the industry, including glass manufacturers, mechanical engineers and end users,” said Dr Manuela Junghähnel, group head for flatLab at Fraunhofer FEP. “With our workshop, we have committed ourselves to further developing and expanding the network with the aim of coming up with more innovative ideas for pioneering applications in this area.”