Development of Hybrid Organic/Inorganic Composites as a Barrier Material for Organic Electronics
The ultra high barrier films for packaging find applications in a wide variety of areas where moisture and oxygen barrier is required for improved shelf-life of food/beverage products and for microbial free pharmaceutical containers. These materials also find applications in micro electro mechanical systems such as ICs, and for packaging in industrial and space electronics. Flexible and portable organic electronics like OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes), OPVDs (Organic Photo Voltaic Devices) and dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) have a good potential in next generation solar powered devices. In fact, organic insulators, semiconductors, and metals may be a large part of the future of electronics. However, these classes of materials are just an emerging class of materials mainly because of their life time constraints. Thus significant research is required to bring them into the forefront of electronic applications. If the degradation problems can be diminished, then these polymers could play a major role in the worldwide electronic industry. A flexible polymer film itself cannot be used as an encapsulation material owing to its high permeability. While a glass or metal substrate possesses ultra high barrier properties, it cannot be used in many electronic applications due to its brittleness and inflexibility. Polymer/ nanocomposites based hybrid materials are thus a promising class of material that can be used for device encapsulation. Chapter I summarizes some of the recent developments in the polymer/nanocomposites based materials for packaging and specifically its use in flexible as well as portable organic electronic device encapsulation. While the development of low permeable encapsulant materials is a chemistry problem, an engineering/instrumentation problem is the development of an accurate technique that can measure the low levels of permeability required for electronic application. Therefore, there is a keen interest in the development of an instrument to measure permeability at these limits. The existing techniques to measure the low permeabilities of barrier films, their importance and accuracy of measurements obtained by these instruments have been briefly discussed in this chapter. Different polymer based hybrid composite materials have been developed for the encapsulation of organic devices and their materials properties have been evaluated. Broadly, two diverse strategies have been used for the fabrication of the composites: in-situ curing and solution casting. Chapters II, III and IV discuss the fabrication of nanocomposite films based on in-situ curing while chapter V discusses fabrication based on solution casting. In chapter II, amine functionalized alumina was used as a cross-linking agent and reinforcing material for the polymer matrix in order to fabricate the composites to be used for encapsulation of devices. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Raman spectroscopy were used to elucidate the surface chemistry. Thermogravimetric and CHN analysis were used to quantify the grafting density of amine groups over the surface of the nanoparticles. Mechanical characterizations of the composites with various loadings were carried out with dynamic mechanical analyzer (DMA). It was observed that the composites have good thermal stability and mechanical flexibility, which are important for an encapsulant. The morphology of the composites was evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The work presented in chapter III is a technique based on grafting between surface decorated γ-alumina nanoparticles and the polymer to make these nanocomposites. Alumina was functionalized with allyltrimethoxysilane and used to conjugate polymer molecules (hydride terminated polydimethylsiloxane) through platinum catalyzed hydrosilylation reaction. As in the previous chapter, the surface chemistry of the nanoparticles after surface modification was characterized by different techniques (FTIR, XPS and Raman). The grafting density of alkene groups over the surface of the modified nanoparticles was calculated using CHN analyzer. Thermal stability of the composites was also evaluated using thermogravimetric analysis. Nanoindentation technique was used to analyze the mechanical characteristics of the composites. The densities of the composites were evaluated using density gradient column and the morphology of composites was evaluated using SEM. All these studies reveal that the composites have good thermal stability and mechanical flexibility and thus can be potentially used for encapsulation of organic photovoltaic devices. In addition, rheological studies of the composites were carried out to investigate the curing reaction. The platinum-catalyzed hydrosilylation reaction was studied using both DSC and rheological measurements. The competitive reactions occurring in the system was also monitored in real time through DSC and rheology. Based on the curing curves obtained from these two studies, the mechanistic detail of the curing process was proposed. In addition, swelling studies and contact angle measurements of the composites were also carried out to determine the capability of these materials as encapsulants. Chapter IV deals with a thermally stable and flexible composite that has been synthesized by following a hydrosilylation coupling between silicone polymer containing internal hydrides and mesoporous silica. The results of the characterization of the composites indicates that the composites are thermally stable, hydrophobic, flexible and can be potentially used for encapsulating flexible electronic devices. Chapter V discusses the solution casting method for the development of composites. This chapter is divided into two parts: Part I discusses the synthesis and characterization of flexible and thermally stable composites using polyvinyl alcohol as the base polymer matrix and reactive zinc oxide nanoparticles as the dispersed phase. Various studies like thermal analysis, mechanical analysis, surface analysis and permeability studies were used to characterize the composite films for their possible use as a passivation material. The material was used to encapsulate Schottky structured devices and the performance of these encapsulated devices under accelerated weathering was studied. Part II of this chapter discusses the fabrication of hybrid organic/inorganic based polymer-composite films, based on polyvinylbutyral (PVB) and organically modified mesoporous silica. PVB and amine functionalized mesoporous silica were used to synthesize the composite. An additional polyol (‘tripentaerythritol’) component was also used to enhance the –OH group content in the composite matrix. The thermal, barrier and mechanical properties of these composites were investigated. The investigation of these films suggests that these can be used as a moisture barrier layer for encapsulation. Chapter VI gives the concluding remarks of the results presented. The advantages as well as disadvantages of the in-situ cured and solution casted films and the scope for future work is discussed in this chapter.
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