Patterning Displays

Direct Laser Patterning of Coatings – As a Job Shop Service or as a Laser Product -

Laserod is proud to be in the forefront of laser patterning, also referred to as etching, for displays such as a touch screens. Other terms for this process are laser structuring and laser scribing. This patterning process removes the invisible and conductive material coating on the display to leave behind a functional circuit, or pattern, on the display.  The remaining conductive pattern guides the electrical signals go where they are intended. The etched/scribed circuit patterns are applied to a thin coating of Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) on a substrate of glass or plastic film. Examples of TCO are Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), carbon nanotubes, and thin gold coatings. TCO coated glass and plastic are typically used in flat panels, windshields, architectural windows, photovoltaics, and touch screen displays. They are cut by us down to 10 micron laser cut width. For large area removal we simply overlap the ablated 10um spots at high laser repetition rates and at high beam speed to remove large areas of the coatings without damage to the underlying glass or PET substrates.

 

Applications:

  • Touch-screens
  • Liquid crystal displays
  • Solar panels
  • Cell phones and digital cameras
  • Interdigitated electrodes
  • RFID tags
  • Jet plane cockpit window
  • Ablation of silver nanowire, carbon nanotube, gold, chrome and other thin films

 

Benefits and Characteristics of Laser Patterning:

  • Fast processing with up to 5 m/sec material removal rates
  • Field size up to 2m x 2m and beyond
  • Feature size down to 5 microns
  • Single step process and maskless processing
  • Ability to change pattern/design instantly with any CAD based software
  • Dry etching process, environmentally “green”
  • Minimal heating of the substrate with little to no heat affected zone
  • Virtually any coating and substrate combination

The conventional method of dry patterning is a photographic process called photolithography involving the steps of photoresist coating, exposure, developing, wet chemical etching, stripping and baking. By contrast, we employ a direct write laser which is a single-step, dry ablative etching process performed in ambient conditions, thereby replacing the numerous photolithographic process steps with one quick laser ablation operation. Other names for conventional photolithography are wet processing and chemical etching.   We call our version of laser lithography Direct (or dry) Laser Processing (DLP).

 

Lithography by Laser Ablation

In our continued efforts to stay at the forefront of laser machining technology, Laserod has developed technology that allows us to expertly perform direct write (dry laser lithography) by laser ablation — typically of ITO thin films on glass or plastic substrates. The abbreviations are ITO:glass & ITO:PET.   Direct write by laser ablation is a state-of-the-art laser operation used in patterning ITO coated glass and plastic which offers fast, large or small area patterning with little or no environmental impact. We have handled ITO:glass plates up to 2m x 2m and ITO:PET sheets. We are working on roll-to-roll (web) processing.   Being on the leading edge of laser machining technology, Laserod introduced new high speed laser patterning systems for ITO on glass or plastic. These innovations we call DLP for Direct Laser Processing.

ITO and its Alternatives:

By a huge margin ITO has been the most widely used TCO material, accounting for 95% of the total TCO usage per area in 2013. Chosen originally for its relatively high conductivity and transparency, ITO faces a number of problems as touch screens become more and more prominent in daily life. One of the biggest of these issues is that the indium used in ITO is a rare metal in limited supply, constantly driving up the cost of manufacture. Further hindering the growth of ITO use is its conductive property that limits ITO based touchscreens to a maximum of 30 inches. All these factors combined with the constant increase of touch screen use in our everyday lives, ITO will struggle to maintain its market dominance. In an effort to stay at the forefront of touch screen technology, Laserod has worked with a large number of current ITO alternatives that show promise to deliver the next level of touch screen performance. Some of these alternatives include:

 

  • Silver Nanowire
  • Metal Mesh
  • Carbon Nanotubes
  • Carbon Nanobuds

 

Value added benefits of selecting Laserod Inc. include:

  • Customized system specs tailored around your application-this ensures optimal laser patterning performance
  • We augment your efforts throughout the entire product development cycle, from R&D to prototyping to low volume production
  • Cutting edge products and services at competitive rates

 

TRADE LITERATURE – CATALOGS: You can read more about the DLP and dry laser patterning ITO by visiting our ITO Details page.   Please contact our staff if you would like to know more about this technology or how Laserod can improve the accuracy and turn times of your projects.   Get More Info… ITO in an article written by Rod Waters, founder of Laserod