Method of fabricating flexible electronic devices

The authors of the patent

G06F1/16 - Constructional details or arrangements

The owners of the patent US9429998:

EverDisplay Optronics (Shanghai) Ltd

 

The present disclosure is related to a method of fabricating display panels, especially to a method of fabricating flexible electronic devices. By means of adding an inorganic membrane with surface roughness between a bonding layer and a PI film, in order to effectively improve the dimensional stability of plastic substrate and the water/oxygen barrier property of flexible substrate during the PI film fabrication and the follow-up process, improving the yield of good products and prolonging the working life thereof.

 

 

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
The present application claims priority to and the benefit of Chinese Patent Application No. CN201310073718.9, filed on Mar. 8, 2013, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present disclosure relates to a method for fabricating display devices, more specifically, to a method of fabricating flexible electronic devices.
2. Description of the Related Art
A flexible display device can display information even though it is folded or bent, by means of forming display thereof unit on a flexible substrate. Therefore, the flexible display device is with a vast application prospect in field of portable electronic devices, wherein, the display equipments adopting the flexible display device comprise: Cholesteric Liquid Crystal Display (“LCD”, hereinafter), Electrophoresis Device and Organic Light-emitting Diode (“OLED”, hereinafter) and so on.
OLED mainly consists of a cathode layer where electrons can be injected, and an anode layer where holes can be injected. A voltage of suitable polarity is applied between the cathode layer and the anode layer to combine the holes and the electrons to release energy by lighting, i.e., electrofluorescence. Thus, OLED is Self-Illumination, and consequently, the back-lighting is unnecessary. Therefore, a light, thin and flexible display can be achieved by OLED. In the related art, the OLED is combined with a flexible substrate and a TFT backplane to fabricate a flexible OLED device, where the flexible substrate technology and de-bonding technology is pivotal.
The flexible substrates applied in the flexible display devices mainly include: organic plastic substrate, such as PC, PET, PEN, PES, PI, composite material substrate made from organic material and inorganic material by means of laminating or other methods and metal substrate containing stainless steal or aluminum.
Presently, the usage of the flexible substrate mainly includes the following two methods, i.e., the pre-prepared sheet material is provided, then it is bonded to a rigid substrate, such as glass, by binder; and the organic polymer precursor, such as polyimide precursor, is coated on the hard substrate.
The flexible substrate is required to be with the excellent properties of surface topography, thermo stability, low thermal expansion coefficient and reliability. Particularly, along with the popularity of the smart phone, the smart phone is of more and more function. The screen is the mainly interactive interface with user. The high resolution and large size panel are extremely important. And, the requirement for the flexible electronic device is higher and higher.
In the fabrication of the flexible electronic device, presently, inorganic powder is doped into an inorganic material precursor with a purpose to obtain a coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of 20 ppm/° C. (SID2010, Jia-Ming Liu and so on, Invited Paper: High Performance Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Plastic Substrate for Flexible Display and Electronics), and to control and improve dimensional and thermal stability thereof. However, it is still different from the coefficient of thermal expansion of the rigid substrate, for example, the coefficient of thermal expansion of glass is 3.39 ppm/° C. Therefore, when fabricating the flexible electronic device, interlaminar stress will generates, leading to a warp in the substrate, and subsequently leading to stripping or cracking of membrane. Finally, various display defects will incur.
Meanwhile, permeability of the flexible substrate to oxygen or moisture is also important. For example, the organic light-emitting diode is easily affected by the oxygen or the moisture because the permeation of the oxygen or the moisture reduces the function and life of the organic light-emitting diode.
The de-bonding technology means a such technology where after a required electronic device is fabricated from a flexible substrate attached to a rigid substrate, such as glass, the flexible substrate and the rigid substrate are separated.
However, in the above de-bonding process, the amorphous silicon is applied as sacrificial layer and laser equipment is applied. Consequently, the cost of the product is high.
FIG. 1 is a structure diagram for de-bonding layer disclosed by ITRI in related art. As shown in FIG. 1, ITRI disclosed a technology for de-bonding layer (SID2010, Cheng-Chung Lee and so on, Invited Paper: A Novel Approach to Make Flexible Active Matrix Displays): successively, Layer 12 is stuck on Rigid Glass Substrate 11, wherein, Layer 12 has a suitable bonding ability; next, a solution of PI precursor is coated with a coating area bigger that de-bonding layer area; next, the PI solidifies to form PI Membrane 13; next, normal TFT process is actualized on PI Membrane 13 to form Device, such as TFT 14; finally, PI Membrane 13 is cut along with edges of DBL layer, Layer 12. The bonding ability of PI Membrane 13 to Layer 12 is weak, consequently, Layer 12 can be easily separated from the PI membrane after the cutting process.
The above-mentioned de-bonding technology is simplified. However, PI Membrane directly contacts to Rigid Substrate 11 at outer parts thereof, the generated cohesive force will lead to an inaccurate alignment in TFT process.
Furthermore, in the above-mentioned process, a gas barrier layer (containing SiNx and composite layer) is formed on PI Membrane to solve the problem of permeability. The gas barrier layer, in part, overcomes the permeability of water/oxygen of PI Membrane 13. However, there is still a difference of coefficient of thermal expansion, leading to an inaccurate alignment in the following TFT process because of stress. Particularly, when the technology is carried out on a bigger size glass substrate, bigger than that of G2 generation, the problem will be more serious. Therefore, the yield rate of product is decreased.
U.S. Patent No. 2008309867A1 has disclosed a fabrication of a thin-film flexible electronic device of the screen type that includes a plurality of thin-film components on a glass support a starting support is prepared, including a rigid bulk substrate and a glass sheet fastened to the rigid bulk substrate by reversible direct bonding so as to obtain a removable interface. The plurality of thin-film components are fabricated on the glass sheet. The glass sheet is separated from the rigid bulk substrate by disassembling the interface and, the glass sheet and the plurality of thin-film components are transferred to a final support.
Korea Patent No. 20040111403A has disclosed an organic luminescence device and its production method. An organic luminescence device uses a substrate with a gas-barrier film in which a gas-barrier film containing an amorphous oxide and at least two kinds of oxides selected from the group consisting of boron oxide, phosphorus oxide, sodium oxide, potassium oxide, lead oxide, titanium oxide, magnesium oxide, and barium oxide is formed on a substrate. The selected two kinds of oxides are a combination of an oxide of an element having a large atomic radius and an oxide of an element having a small atomic radius. The substrate is made of glass or plastic. As a result, the organic luminescence device using a substrate excellent in gas-barrier capability to prevent the infiltration of oxygen, water vapor and so on from outside is provided. Consequently, it did not solve the problem of increasing the cost.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An embodiment of the present disclosure is directed toward a method of fabricating flexible electronic devices capable of effectively improve the dimensional stability of plastic substrate and the water/oxygen barrier property of flexible substrate during the PI film fabrication and the follow-up process, improving the yield rate of good products and prolonging the working life thereof.
The method of fabricating flexible electronic devices, comprising: forming a separating layer on a rigid substrate, where the separating layer partly covers the rigid substrate; depositing an inorganic membrane to cover the side walls and the upper surface of the separating layer, and also to cover the exposed part of the upper surface of the rigid substrate; coating a precursor of plastic substrate to cover the side walls and the upper surface of the inorganic membrane, and to partly cover the exposed part of the upper surface of the rigid substrate; after solidification, forming a display device substrate from the plastic substrate; fabricating electronic components on surface of the display device substrate.
The inorganic membrane is formed by means of Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition process, in the fabrication method of a flexible electronic device. The inorganic membrane is quickly formed by means of powder of Plasma Excitation, at temperature lower than 200° C., with mixture gas where silane predominates. The thickness of the inorganic membrane is less that 300 nm. The material of the inorganic membrane is amorphous silicon or silicon nitride. The adhesive force between the separating layer and the rigid substrate is less than a preconfigured value. The upper surface of the inorganic membrane is rough. The separating layer is double sided adhesive material. The roughness of the upper surface of the inorganic membrane is more that or equal to Rz 0.2 μm and less than or equal to Rz 0.3 μm. The material of the rigid substrate is glass.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS
The accompanying drawings, together with the specification, illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure, and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the present disclosure.
FIG. 1 shows structure diagram of the de-bonding layer technology disclosed by ITRI in the related art;
FIGS. 2 to 4 show a flow diagram of the method of the fabrication method of the flexible electronic device of the present disclosure.
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Hereinafter, certain exemplary embodiments according to the present disclosure will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
In this embodiment of the fabrication method of flexible electronic device, first, a separating layer is formed on upper surface of a rigid substrate, such as glass, for example, a double sided adhesive material is stuck to the glass substrate as the separating layer in the follow-up process, where the separating layer partly covers the rigid substrate; next an inorganic membrane is deposited, for example, the inorganic membrane is amorphous silicon or silicon nitride membrane formed by means of Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition process, to cover the side walls and the upper surface of the separating layer, and the inorganic membrane also covers the exposed part of the upper surface of the rigid substrate; finally, a precursor of plastic substrate is coated to cover the side walls and the upper surface of the inorganic membrane, and partly cover the exposed part of the upper surface of the rigid substrate; after solidification, the plastic substrate forms a display device substrate, and electronic components are set up on surface of the display device substrate.
Preferably, the roughness of the upper surface of the inorganic membrane is more that or equal to Rz 0.2 μm and less than or equal to Rz 0.3 μm. Meanwhile, preferably, the adhesive force between the separating layer and the rigid substrate is less than a preconfigured value. The preconfigured value can be adhesive force of separating layer to the inorganic membrane. Alternatively, the preconfigured value can be the adhesive force of inorganic membrane to substrate of the display device.
FIGS. 2 to 4 show a flow diagram of the method of the fabrication method of the flexible electronic device of the present disclosure. FIGS. 2 to 4 show that, first, Separating Layer 22 is formed on upper surface of Rigid Substrate 21 to partly cover Rigid Substrate 21. Rigid Substrate 21 can be, for example, glass substrate. Separating Layer 22 can be, for example, double sided adhesive material.
Next, Inorganic Membrane 23 is deposited to cover the side walls and the upper surface of Separating Layer 22. Inorganic Membrane 23 can be amorphous silicon, such as silicon hydride, or silicon nitride membrane formed by means of Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition process. Specifically, at the temperature lower than 200° C., such as 200° C., 190° C., 180° C., 170° C., 150° C., 120° C. and so on, Inorganic Membrane 23 is quickly formed on Separating Layer 21, by means of powder of Plasma Excitation with mixture gas where silane predominates. Inorganic Membrane 23 covers the side walls and the upper surface of Separating Layer 22, and also covers the exposed part of the upper surface of Rigid Substrate 21. In this embodiment, the thickness of Inorganic Membrane 23 can be less than 300 nm, such as 100 nm, 150 nm, 200 nm, 300 nm, and so on.
Preferably, Upper Surface 231 of Inorganic Membrane 23 is a rough surface, i.e., Upper Surface 231 has a roughness. Inorganic Membrane 23 effectively improves the dimensional stability of plastic substrate and the water/oxygen barrier property of flexible substrate during the PI film fabrication and the follow-up process, improving the yield rate of good products and prolonging the working life thereof, wherein, the roughness of Upper Surface 231 can be more that or equal Rz 0.2 μm and less that or equal to Rz 0.3 μm, such as Rz 0.2 μm, Rz 0.24 μm, Rz 0.26 μm, Rz 0.28 μm or Rz 0.3 μm and so on. The roughness of Upper Surface 231 is measured according to Ten Height Points of Microscopic Planeness.
Next, a precursor of plastic substrate, such as PI solution, is coated to cover the side walls and Upper Surface 231 of the Inorganic Membrane 23, and partly cover the exposed part of the upper surface of the Rigid Substrate 21; after solidification process, the plastic substrate forms Display Device Substrate 24.
Finally, Electronic Component 25, such as TFT, where Electronic Component 25 is not limited by TFT, is set up on surface of Display Device Substrate 24. After fabricating Electronic Component 25, Display Device Substrate 24 is cut along with inner edge of Separating Layer 22, for example, the position expressed by Arrow 26. The adhesive force between Separating Layer 22 and Rigid Substrate 21 is not strong, therefore the fabricated electronic device, including remaining display device substrate, remaining inorganic membrane and remaining separating layer, after cutting, can be easily de-bonded form Rigid Substrate 21, to complete the fabrication of a display device with a display substrate and an inorganic membrane.
In this embodiment, preferably, the adhesive force between Separating Layer 22 and Rigid Substrate 21 is less than a preconfigured value. The preconfigured value can be adhesive force of Separating Layer 22 to Inorganic Membrane 23; or the preconfigured value can be adhesive force of Inorganic Membrane 23 to Display Device Substrate 24, to ensure the follow-up de-bonding process running smoothly, in the case that the adhesive force of Separating Layer 22 to Rigid Substrate 21 can meet the requirement of carrying out follow-up process, where after the cutting process, a separating process of remaining separating layer form Rigid Substrate 21.
While the present disclosure has been described in connection with certain exemplary embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but, on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims, and equivalents thereof.


1. A method of fabricating flexible electronic devices, comprising:
(a) forming a separating layer on a substrate, wherein the separating layer partly covers the substrate;
(b) depositing an inorganic membrane having a rough upper surface to cover the side walls and the upper surface of the separating layer, and also to cover the exposed part of the upper surface of the substrate;
(c) coating a precursor of plastic substrate to cover the side walls and the upper surface of the inorganic membrane, and to partly cover the exposed part of the upper surface of the substrate; after solidification, forming a display device substrate from the plastic substrate; and
(d) fabricating electronic components on surface of the display device substrate.
2. The method as disclosed in claim 1, wherein the inorganic membrane is formed by means of Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition process.
3. The method as disclosed in claim 1, wherein the inorganic membrane is quickly formed by means of powder of Plasma Excitation, at temperature lower than 200° C., with mixture gas which silane predominates.
4. The method as disclosed in claim 1, wherein the thickness of the inorganic membrane is less that 300 nm.
5. The method as disclosed in claim 1, wherein the material of the inorganic membrane is amorphous silicon or silicon nitride.
6. The method as disclosed in claim 1, wherein adhesive force between the separating layer and the substrate is less than a preconfigured value.
7. The method as disclosed in claim 1, wherein the upper surface of the inorganic membrane is rough.
8. A method as disclosed in claim 1, wherein the separating layer is double sided adhesive material.
9. The method as disclosed in claim 1, wherein the roughness of the upper surface of the inorganic membrane is more that or equal to Rz 0.2 μm and less than or equal to Rz 0.3 μm.
10. The method as disclosed in claim 1, wherein the substrate is a rigid substrate, the material of the rigid substrate is glass.

 

 

Patent trol of patentswamp
Similar patents
an electronic device may have a hollow display cover structure. the hollow display cover structure may be formed from a structure having an inner surface. the structure may be an elongated member having a longitudinal axis. a material such as sapphire, other crystalline materials, or other transparent materials may be used in forming the hollow display cover structure. a flexible display layer such as an organic light-emitting diode display layer or other flexible display structure may be wrapped around the longitudinal axis to cover the interior surface of the hollow display cover structure. the electronic device may have a touch sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and other sensors for gathering input such as user input. the electronic device may use one or more sensors to gather information on rotational motion of the device and can display content on the flexible display layer accordingly.
Cover assembly // US9429996
a cover assembly including a first and second covers, a latch, an elastic unit, and fasteners is provided. the first cover has inner and outer surfaces, wherein first limiting elements, a hook, and a rail are formed on the inner surface, and keyholes are formed through the inner and outer surfaces. the second cover fixed on the first cover with the inner surface facing the second cover has a stud and second limiting elements overlapping the first limiting elements. the elastic unit connected between the latch disposed in the rail and having third limiting elements and the hook applies a restoring force to the latch. the fasteners pass through the keyholes into the stud. the latch is constrained by the fasteners to drive the third limiting elements to pass through the overlapping portions of the first and second limiting elements, and thereby the first and second covers are fixed together.
a docking station for mechanically supporting and electrically communicating with an electronic device, such as a portable phone, computer, media player, or the like includes a housing with upper and lower housing surfaces, a device mount pivotably coupled to the housing, and an electrical and mechanical connector on the device mount. the upper housing surface defines an opening through which the connector extends. the opening in the upper housing is sized and shaped to correspond to an upper portion of the device mount, which has arcuate surfaces that remain in close proximity or contact with surfaces defining the opening in the upper housing, to limit or preclude the intrusion of contaminants into the housing regardless of the position of the device mount relative to the housing.
according to one embodiment, a docking station is provided with a support surface configured for supporting a back surface of a portable electronic device, a rotating cradle configured for receiving a base of the portable electronic device, and a floating docking connector that extends out of a recess of the rotating cradle for connecting to a docking connector of the portable electronic device. according to one embodiment, the support surface of the docking station may include one or more magnetic structures, which are positioned to align with one or more magnetic structures on the back surface of the portable electronic device and configured to provide a magnetic force to retain the portable electronic device on the support surface.
computing device docking systems are disclosed. according to an aspect, a computing device docking system includes a docking station component having an opening defined within a surface. the system includes a pin including a body and an end having a member extending laterally from the body. the end of the pin is receivable within an opening of a computing device component for attaching the computing device component to the docking station. the pin is moveable within the opening between a first position and a second position. in the first position, at least a portion of the body and at least a portion of the member is positioned within the opening of the docking station component. in the second position, at least a portion of the body is within the opening and the member is outside of the opening of the docking station component.
a portable computer, system, and method for a wired and wireless docking station are provided. the portable computer may function to connect to a docking station via either a wired or wireless channel of communication depending on the signal strength of a wireless communication as determined by a comparator, or depending on whether it has been physically connected to a docking station. the system may also be modular so that it can be acquired by a computer user as separate modules, and may provide support for charging an additional battery through a power connection that is separate from the docking connector. a process is also provided that allows a portable computer user to automatically commence and switch between wired and wireless docking sessions by either placing the computer either within range of the docking station or by connecting it to the docking station with a docking station connector.
a wearable memory card holder for positioning on a limb of a wearer may comprise a band for at least partially encircling the limb of the wearer, and a memory card receptacle integrated with the band and configured to receive a memory card. a transmitter may be mounted on the band and configured to wirelessly transmit data from a memory card when the memory card is inserted into the memory card receptacle.
example methods and systems may be implemented by a wearable computer to utilize optical-flow analysis to recognize a predetermined user-action, such as selecting an object. an example method may involve a wearable computing device: receiving video data from a video camera of a wearable computing device: determining optical flow for the video data; determining that an optical-flow differential exists at an area within the optical flow for the video data; and responsive to determining that the optical-flow differential exists at the area: identifying an object that is located at the area where the optical-flow differential exists; performing a search on the object; and causing a graphical display to display information that corresponds to results from the search.
an interactive electronic device shell and light source may enable personalization and increased functionality of an electronic device. the shell may at least partially cover a light source and attach to an electronic device. the shell includes at least some transparent or translucent portions that enable light from a matrix of the light source to emit through the shell, thus causing a display of light from the shell. in some aspects, the electronic device may be linked with the shell and/or the light source to control light emission through the shell. in various aspects, an illumined portion of the shell may have significance, such as revealing an artistic design or indicating a message based on activity of the electronic device.
Touch screen panel // US9429988
a touch screen panel includes a window substrate divided into an active area and a non-active area, the non-active area being outside the active area, the window substrate having a first printed layer formed in the non-active area, a touch substrate including sensing electrodes formed in the active area and having a second printed layer that faces the first printed layer formed in the non-active area, and an adhesive layer interposed between the window substrate and the touch substrate.
To top