Article provided by: Laserod Technologies, LLC
Laser patterning flexible displays with an ITO film poses several promises. The laser does not burn the PET and therefore produces clearer transparencies on flexible displays. The R to R display process is possible, and the resistivity of the sheet has an excellent isolation value.
How does laser produce patterns?
Patterning generates grid lines, borders, fanouts, and alignment aids. An AutoCAD file becomes the input of the laser, and the patterned display becomes the output. The laser ablation on screens drills a series of overlapping blind holes on the thin coating.
Drilling makes one blind hole for each pulse, so the holes overlap at high speeds. The laser beam passes through the lens and focuses on a spot within 0.01mm to 0.125mm on the coat. One pulse vaporizes the coating, and the overlapping spots produce spaces within the TCO coating.
Patterning with green and IR laser
Patterning Indium Tin Oxide on bulk substrates using advanced infrared and green fiber lasers produces a chemical-free process that is rampant in touch and flat panels. The economic viability of a linear touch sensor with a high-grade ITO patterning. The ability to focus green laser more keenly is better for meeting a 10 µm width target. IR laser is convenient for a cost-effective and robust, effective solution.
Circuit patterning materials
Indium Tin Oxide is one material that satisfies the requirements of ITO laser patterning. It has excellent optoelectronic performance and dominates elements on the broader market. The material, however, has a couple of drawbacks when applies to plastic substrates.
The demand for ITO is changing because many designs are shifting to accommodate thinner and more flexible forms. The most obvious limitations of ITO include the following:
ITO is a ceramic that is susceptible to defects that affect weak and brittle materials. This setting makes it a considerable flaw because product designs are shifting to become more flexible and thin.
Glass and plastic
Patterning flexible plastic is expensive because of the handling damage that increases the probability of the circuit area. It is not possible to achieve the high temperatures and optoelectronic properties when using plastic. Glass is, however, strong enough to reach high vapor deposition levels that are contingent on the applied temperature.
Methods of ITO laser patterning
This process incurs a significant amount in both the money spent and the time used to manufacture the product. It includes the following definitive steps:
- Etching a mask
- Capturing or treating the etch waste stream
- Stripping the etch off the mask
- Cleaning the circuit
One should be keen enough not to damage the underlying substrate because the laser vaporizes unwanted material. The glass becomes durable and results in reduced ablation. The flexible films are susceptible to damage, and the risk of using the process increases as one removes the material.
Conservative estimates place the cost of laser ablation to be three times the cost of an ITO film. It is, therefore, reasonable to estimate that the laser patterning process will have higher risks, challenges, and larger area substrates.
Laserod machines have precise application mechanisms. Check our listing of all the possible ITO related questions and applicable patterning formulas.