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Super-Hydrophobic and Super-Oleophobic Barrier Coating for Electronic Devices

Background:

The electronics industry aims to deliver flexible, lightweight and inexpensive electronic products to consumers. The absence of effective barrier technologies meeting the water permeability demands is the single largest technical hurdle preventing the widespread commercialization of products such as organic solar cells (OPV), disposable or wraparound displays, pressure sensitive sensors, touch screens and organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). The materials used to make organic electronics are sensitive to and easily damaged by water making outdoor applications much more difficult. Although manufacturers make efforts to seal these devices, it is difficult if not impossible to consistently and completely achieve a seal against moisture and oil contaminants.

Defects in today's barrier films such as pinholes, cracks and grain boundaries are common and create areas where molecules can permeate the barriers. Current technologies focus on reducing these defects by using multi-layers coated on plastic; however, these methods result in a rigid device and do not satisfy applications that demand flexibility. Furthermore, films that are resistant to both oil and water contaminants are extremely rare. Clearly, improved sealing processes are necessary and important for the practical manufacturing of these electronic devices.

Description of the Invention:

This project involves the development of barrier coatings that are both super-oleophobic and super-hydrophobic. These thin films are based on phosphonium ionic liquids that are flexible, robust and adaptable to multiple substrates. The use of highly-fluorinated phosphonium salts offer a non-volatile, thermally stable alternative to current coating technologies, resulting in the reduction of toxic emissions.  Given the ionic nature of these coatings, a whole new set of potential applications are available which were formerly not achievable with neutral, non-charged materials.

Potential Advantages:

• Both Super-Hydrophobic and Super-Oleophobic
• Easily applied
• Optically clear
• Flexible and robust

Potential Applications:

• Oleophobic
• Hydrophobic
• Ionic Liquid
• Coating
• Electronic
• Organic
• Barrier

Patent Status:

National phases filed in Canada, China, Europe and US.

Patent Information:

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