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New Adhesives for Next Generation Flexible Electronics and Organic Photovoltaics

Authors: Lena Reinke | Tobias Kaposi:

Paradigm shifts and disruptive technologies typically combine with, and often rely on generational changes. Such a shift can be seen in today’s photovoltaics development, where organic photovoltaics (OPV) is creating radically new applications in consumer electronics. They include indoor light harvesting to extend battery life of wearables, and outdoor energy generation with performance previously unimaginable from conventional photovoltaics. The same is true for flexible electronics. Manufacturers are redefining the boundaries of volumetric form factor, functionality, and design flexibility in consumer and automotive electronics.

A critical contributor to these technology advancements has come from the advancement of bonding technologies. Adhesives now go beyond the basic benefits of sound structural bonding and provide additional functionality to the assembly. This has become the industry standard. Working in conjunction with our highly valued partners and customers, Panacol has successfully developed a range of multi-functional adhesive selections for applications in OPV and flexible electronics. For OPV applications, these adhesives provide higher resistance to environmental stresses. Adhesives for barrier foil lamination optimize the critical interplay between the pretreatment, foil, stack, and adhesive. New conductive adhesives efficiently adhere and protect electrical connections for SMD components in flexible packaging.

In all cases, the specific requirements of the application and its assembly process are key factors to consider when making an adhesive selection. Significant benefits can be realized when an optimal pairing is achieved with the component design, assembly, (UV) adhesive properties, and the curing process. Component and process design is afforded much greater flexibility. High throughput processes, including reel-to-reel, can be run with greater efficiency which reduces total cost of operation. Finished products can also possess more functionality and durability.

If this all sounds too good to be true, you may be right!

As with all other new disruptive technologies, there are many challenges to overcome. Established component designs, assembly processes, and product sourcing criteria used for conventional photovoltaics and flexible electronics must be modified to adapt to the new adhesive technologies. In some cases, the adhesives themselves may need to be slightly modified to better match the intended application and process. However, when the combined efforts achieve a successful balance, mass production becomes more efficient, and it produces a better product.

Overcoming these challenges requires cooperation between product manufacturer and the adhesive manufacturer. As such, Panacol is continuously trying to broaden its network of technology partners and active customers. We welcome the opportunity to work with manufacturers who are bringing their own disruptive technology to the photovoltaic and flexible electronics assembly markets.

Caption: Schematic illustration of the manufacturing process of flexible OPVs using adhesives. Photo: Panacol. Note: The photographic material may only be published in connection with the associated article.

We can shape a new supply chain together!

If you are interested in learning more about our products, come visit us at our booth at TechBlick in Berlin on October 17th and 18th. Or for immediate assistance, please contact Lena Reinke or Tobias Kaposi at: Tel.: +49 (0) 151 550 65571 Tel.: +49 (0) 151 550 65581

We look forward to reshaping the future of photovoltaics and flexible electronics together with you!

About Panacol

Panacol-Elosol GmbH was founded in 1978 as a German subsidiary of the Swiss Panacol AG in Frankfurt. In 2008, Panacol was acquired by Munich-based Dr. Hönle AG, a leading global supplier of industrial UV equipment technology. As a member of the Hönle Group, Panacol is a knowledgeable and reliable provider of adhesives, coatings, and UV/LED curing equipment for OEM and contract manufacturers.


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