Keywords: thin ceramic, flexible ceramic, ceramic foils
Summary:ENrG Incorporated, in 2015, and in collaboration with Corning initiated a roll-to-roll (R2R) flexible ceramic development for its Zirconia Ribbon Ceramic product to address a variety of needs in Flexible Hybrid Electronic (FHE) market applications. Flexible electronics require significant reductions in thickness, increased flexibility over smaller diameter rolls, and better durability and reliability for improved lifetimes under extreme thermal conditions during manufacturing, and in operation. Zirconia Ribbon Ceramic (ZRC) is a highly flexible thin ceramic and proves to be an ultra-barrier for protecting moisture and air sensitive films, providing integration opportunities as a support, seal and/or multifunctional flexible circuit devices. ENrG, collaborating with ITN Energy Systems, proved high energy density, ultrathin solid-state lithium batteries integrated with solar power recharging were feasible. ZRC is both the support for the battery and solar power functions, and the outer package material, eliminating the need for other packaging, such as a coin cell, or pouch, resulting in thinner and lighter weight devices. ZRC introduces a high-performance material in a new form factor, allowing the use of roll-to-roll processing in producing devices – methods previously never considered for ceramic coating or assembly. It also enables designers to conceive of new products, or new form factors for products, beyond traditional ceramic sheets. The presentation will show R2R processes demonstrated on less than 0.002” thick Ribbon Ceramic, and touch on the beginning of product concepts based on long lengths of thin, flexible ceramic. Thermal sensitive applications addressed in this presentation will include solid-state batteries, SOFCs, LEDs, OLEDs, solar PV, sensors, heater circuits, and more. The author acknowledges cutting edge collaboration with the Corning Team, and the funded support of the FlexTech Alliance and NYSERDA. This paper describes integration examples and the development of the support Ecosystem to enable flexible ceramics in product demonstrations including solid-state batteries, solar photovoltaics, flip-chipped LED flex circuit, OLEDs, sensors and flexible printed conductors. For these target product market opportunities, a R2R ceramic would be revolutionary by offering high temperature capable benefits for continuous coating processing and for flexibility in final products.