Thin-to-Thick Film Technology

Taking successful display-manufacturing technology to promising new territories

Building on more than a decade of experience in thin-film transistors for flexible displays, OLED technologies, thin-film PV and high resolution X-ray and optical imagers, Holst Centre is ready to take the next step and use this successful technology platform to create thicker film applications for the biomedical domain. Organ-on-chip and microfluidics are promising examples of this technology platform.

Flexible thin-film transistor (TFT) arrays have been around for a while—the backplane technology has been commercialized successfully in curved and rollable mobile phone screens and demonstrated in impressive OLED TVs. Recent advances in flexible displays and underlying technologies such as TFT arrays on plastic, as well as novel TFT materials and (printed) organic photodetector materials, raise consideration for new applications. Could TFT arrays form the basis for these new applications, and can display-manufacturing technology make the leap into the biomedical domain?

Bridging the gap

These new applications require thicker films of up to of 500 micrometres instead of hundredths of nanometers. For microfluidics you need channels with a certain volume; for chip-integration and packaging it is the thickness of the silicon chip that dictates the film layer thickness. Up until now the thin-film and thick-film technology platforms were completely separate worlds. At Holst Centre we have successfully bridged the gap between those two worlds by showing that the large-area hybrid technology platform is very well suited for thick-film applications as well.

T3F for chip integration: antenna-i-package example ©
Opening up new markets

This flexibility opens up a whole range of opportunities for production companies within the display industry who want to venture into new markets with renewed growth potential. With our extensive knowledge and experience of large-area technology we can assist our business partners in creating new applications that only require limited adaptations to their current infrastructure.

Promising applications

We are uniquely able to combine and tailor these varied technologies into optimized process flows to create transistors, optical and microfluidics structures, opto-electrical devices, and more. This helps our industry partners to quickly realize applications in domains as diverse as medical imaging and bioelectronics. The most promising applications we see at the moment are back-end chip integration, organ-on-chip and microfluidics.