A Finnish university has developed a multilayer coated paper substrate for printed functional devices.
The invention is based on ca. 10 years of intense research activities, and the research group has collaborated tightly with industrial partners during its development. The paper substrate has been produced in pilot trials in industrial paper-making facilities and successfully tested in several proof-of-concept applications including for example a low-voltage organic transistor, an electrochromic pixel, oxygen sensor, hydrogen sulphide sensor and an ion-selective electrode.
The paper substrate comprises of a multilayer structure including a top coating, barrier layer, smoothing layer, pre-coating and basepaper. The substrate can be recycled, and the paper is therefore suited for "one-time" or "throwaway" applications. The raw materials used are widely available bulk chemicals for paper production and coating. The concept enables the use in a wide range of printing and coating methods. The surface properties of the substrate can be readily tuned or new ones added to achieve a desired function.
The versatile applicability of the developed paper substrate has been demonstrated with several proof-of-concept devices including transistors, ion-selective electrodes and chemical sensors.
The invention has granted patents in China and in nine European countries (GB, FR, DE, CH, FI, NL, SE, AT, BE).
Potential commercial application areas include for example bio- and chemical sensors, microfluidics, smart packaging, logistics management and tracking, single use electronic circuits, devices and displays.
The university is looking for licensees interested in commercial exploitation of the technology and aqcuiring the IP rights for the technology. Potential partners could be for example specialty paper manufacturers, or manufacturers of printed electronics with possibilities to outsource the production to a suitable paper production facility.