April 4, 2009 – ALD NanoSolutions, Inc. has announced the award of a $99,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for “Flexible Gas Diffusion Barriers Using ALD/MLD Multilayers and Roll-to-Roll Processing.”  The award, effective May 14, 2010 – November 14, 2010, will be used to develop flexible hybrid inorganic/polymer multilayer gas diffusion barriers using atomic layer deposition (ALD) and molecular layer deposition (MLD).  These multilayer barriers should produce unprecedented flexible barrier performance, enabling next generation technology in flexible organic light emitting diodes (FOLEDs) and thin film photovoltaics.

The failure of flexible organic electronic devices occurs because air and moisture can easily permeate through the polymer substrates that support the devices.  These oxidants can degrade light-emitting organics and/or lead to the oxidation of metal cathodes.  Unfortunately, single inorganic films deposited onto polymers using sputtering or evaporation do not provide adequate gas diffusion barriers for FOLEDs and various other flexible electronic devices.  To minimize permeation, Polymer ALD™ creates transparent inorganic thin ALD films on polymers and provides a gas diffusion barrier. Multilayer films consisting of separate flexible individual inorganic and organic layers can be employed to obtain extremely low, ultra-barrier performance.

“In order to realize the promise of novel electronics and thin film photovoltaics , ultra-barrier ALD coatings are needed to protect them. Nano-engineered barriers will address not only lifespan and performance issues, but also offer flexibility in order to develop innovative new products” said Dr. Karen Buechler, President and CTO of ALD NanoSolutions.

The patented process of depositing ALD films on polymers will allow the company to improve barriers for a wide variety of market applications.  The composition and thickness of the ALD films can also be customized to provide additional benefits such as protection from UV and space based environments.  This grant, done in partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder, is an important part in the company’s continuing effort to demonstrate the value of atomic layer deposition for custom designed composite materials.

About ALD NanoSolutions

As the leader in digital coating solutions for composite materials, ALD NanoSolutions (ALDN) is dedicated to bringing next generation performance to materials used across a wide range of industries. ALDN’s mission is to accelerate the commercial success of its customers by delivering superior materials solutions based on its proprietary atomic layer deposition platform. The ALDN web site is www.aldnanosolutions.com.