Advanced Manufacturing

Innovation in manufacturing is a key to economic prosperity. Roll-to-roll (R2R) nanomanufacturing processes make it possible to economically print electronic devices and other technology products at meters-per-minute rates on inexpensive plastic film, paper, or foil, and to achieve feature dimensions as small as a few nanometers over areas encompassing billions of identical devices. In addition, R2R can be a much more environmentally benign and energy-efficient process as compared to wafer-based or vacuum-based manufacturing.

Our center innovates in several areas that impact the future of advanced manufacturing:

  • Additive-driven self-assembly of nanomaterials
  • Solution-based R2R nanoscale processing
  • High-precision chemical planarization of substrates

Examples of devices and engineered materials capable of being produced through R2R nanomanufacturing include:

  • Thin film and organic photovoltaic cells
  • Displays and touch screens
  • OLED displays and lighting
  • Fuel cell electrodes
  • Battery separators
  • Lithium ion battery electrodes
  • Fuel cell membranes
  • Osmosis membranes
  • Ultra-high barrier coatings and packaging
  • Anti-glare and anti-reflective surfaces
  • Clear conductive films

Roll-to-roll nanomanufacturing challenges include:

  • Generating low-cost, commodity-scale materials sets
  • Achieving high-precision cooperative assembly
  • Obtaining surface-directed/guided assembly of critical features through an imprint stamping process
  • Fabricating ordered hybrid nanocomposites at high rates
  • Improving nanoimprint processes
  • Process integration for realistic production environments
  • Checking for nanoscale defects in real time on a moving web