|Emerging Technology Award Winner - UniPixel Inc, The Woodlands, TX|
You may think of today’s electronic devices as a complex stack of layers or films. One of the most critical functions of a film in an electronic device is that of conductivity. The dominant technology by a wide margin used for transparent conductive films are thin films of ITO (or Indium Tin Oxide).
However, ITO has several major problems such as cost, future availability and brittleness. Brittleness is a major difficulty for devices that use touch screens or require a large degree of flexibility. UniPixel has taken a very novel approach in solving these problems. Rather than simply using a UV curable coat as a protective layer, they form a template using UV curable materials to produce a complex grid. This grid then serves as a pattern for conductive inks. The resulting ink pattern at 5 to 10 micron line width produces a transparent, conductive film with excellent flexibility and conductive properties.
As a result of their innovative process, the conductive grid can be produced at low cost using roll to roll coating equipment. This is a significant advantage over the production of most other conductive films with excellent conductiveness, transparency, greater size and a lower cost when compared to an ITO sheet for Touch Panel screens.
In addition to the example cited above for a conductive film, UniPixel has taken the concept of micro or nano-embossing UV curable films to develop antifingerprint films and security films. They have also developed a high performance, hard but flexible coating targeted as a protective layer for devices such as touch screens. And UniPixel’s innovate films are now being tested in a large range of products including Touch Screens, cell phones. 2d – 3D television and Photovoltaics.
The key is that all of these unique products have been enabled by using UV curable materials and coatings.