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ITRI shows atmospheric pressure process for GZO

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:plasma? GZO? LCD? TCO? ITRI?

Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) was in the news late last year for a number of technologies they demonstrated late last year. At the recent Touch Taiwan show in the Nangang Exhibition Centre, Taipei, they talked about their "atmospheric environment plasma" (aePlasma) technology.

The institute uses its plasma technology for thin film deposition and patterning. ITRI says its aePlasma process offers both environmental and cost benefits. The process uses an electric field to generate the plasma and water-based metal salts as reaction precursors to reduce chemical hazards.

The most common process for coating transparent conductive oxide (TCO) on glass uses tin-doped indium oxide or indium tin oxide (ITO). TCOs are used in solar and LCD panels.

ITO deposition is usually done by sputtering, which requires vacuum systems. Alternatives to ITO are also sought because of the high cost and limited supply of indium and its lack of flexibility. Gallium-doped and aluminium-doped zinc oxides (GZO and AZO) have been getting increasing attention.

Atmospheric pressure plasma patterning system developed by ITRI

Figure 1: Atmospheric pressure plasma patterning system developed by ITRI.

aePlasma works under normal atmospheric pressure and temperature conditions using air with metal ions in an aqueous solution to apply the TCO coating on glass surfaces. ITRI said it coats large-size glass plates more quickly and efficiently than the conventional methods that require implementation in closed chambers under controlled temperatures.

"We want to use the GZO conductive oxide to replace the ITO," said Kuo-Hi Yang, Ph.D. researcher with the plasma science & application department in ITRI. "We deposit the GZO on glass at a higher temperature. But all of the process is under atmospheric pressure. So we don't need the vacuum system. The cost should decrease."

The technology is also used to dry etch organic transparent conductive thin films, such as poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) poly(styrenesulfonate) or PEDOT:PSS and graphene. To do this, the process uses a metal mask, clean dry air (CDA) and oxygen (for reaction with carbon containing material), and aePlasma equipment.

ITRI claimed this lithography-free process is eco-friendly and can be applied to capacitive touch panel manufacturing.

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