Induced functionality by structured topography
Large Area Micro/Nano Structured Surfaces
Roll-to-Roll Nanoimprint lithography (R2RNIL) is a disruptive manufacturing technology which we employ to accelerate our product development and to increase the value of nano-enabled components and devices. High throughput and large area nano structuring of flexible substrates by continuous processes has great potential for future custom applications and products. Moreover, nanostructured thin films combined with tailored material properties create unique functionalities having a direct impact to broad range applications.
Physical micro/nano structuring has demonstrated added value surfaces with enhanced functionalities which find use in numerous modern applications and products. Inspired by nature we manufacture ¨nano¨ enabled surface and products with improved properties and well defined functionalities. Such bio-mimetic surfaces are created by designed surfaces or interfaces containing structural features on the micro and/or nano-scale and generate tailored surface properties such as:
- Super-hydrophobic surfaces
- Hydrophilic surfaces
- Anti-reflective surfaces
- Anti-bacterial surfaces
- Self-cleaning surfaces
Intelligent surfaces inspired by Nature
The reflection of light from plastic covers is a common problem. The irritation from tablets (ipad’s) and smart phones is a typical example as the display cannot be read at certain angles because of strong reflections. The same effect is seen with the new informational display systems in automobiles. The artificial moth-eye structure is an engineered surface texture that allows a gradual change in optical density as light travels from air into the display, resulting in minimal Fresnel reflection. The main advantage of Moth-eye surface textures is the ability to mass-produce product through the use of high throughput replication processes.
Coloured Surfaces without chemical pigments, etc.
Plastic components, etc.
Liquid Repelling Surfaces
Super-hydrophobicity is a clear example of such particular property; which describes a phenomenon where liquid water cannot wet the surface it rests on. Such non-wetting effect is observed on the surfaces of the lotus leaves, where water droplets form spherical balls, thus minimizing the contact surface area. This natural process of self-cleaning can be reverse engineered and contrary used to attract water or any form of liquid. Biological micro-structures, such as nano-papilla morphologies on lotus leaves, and needle shaped seta on water strider legs, account for the non-wettability of their biologic surfaces. A water droplet rolls off quickly from a lotus leaf while dust particles do not adhere to it surface. This self-cleaning property of super hydrophobic surfaces (contact angle larger than 150°) could find applications in day to day life providing protection to surfaces and products. The phenomenon is explained by the fact that hierarchical micro and nano-meter sized structures on surfaces allow air bubbles to fill the valleys of the structure under the droplets and/or dust particles. Inspired by these natural micro/nano structures, we provide custom tailored biomimetic surfaces over large areas either on hard or on flexible substrates.
Structural Coloured Surfaces
Colouring in nature mostly comes from the inherent colours of materials, but it sometimes has a purely physical origin, such as diffraction or interference of light. Some natural occurring structural colours originate from optical processes represented by thin-film interference, multilayer interference, a diffraction grating effect, photonic crystals, light scattering, and so on. An example of such natural structural colour is butterfly wings, which have been widely studied and artificially reproduced through modern nanofabrication techniques. The size of the unit cells of such passive diffractive elements is in the order of the wavelength of light usually in the sub micro meter range. Structural colours have attracted great interest because their applications have been rapidly progressing in many fields related to vision, such as the security printing, automobile, cosmetics, and textile industries. We provide tailored physical structural coloured surfaces which could provide true colour when viewed at a particular angle.
Coloured Surfaces without chemical pigments, etc.
Inspired from the effective properties of biological surfaces, their structural topographies provide the appropriate conditions to generate enhanced hydro/aero-dynamic properties. Nature presents a variety of animals like fish, sharks and dolphins which create the conditions for reducing drag in fluids flow. A well-known example of a surface which provide extremely low drag properties is the skin of sharks. Fast swimming shark skin exhibit tiny scale riblet structures aligned in the direction of flow that are known to reduce skin friction in the turbulent flow regime. Modern application and markets find topographical riblet structures a niche way of addressing drag resistance whether air or liquids are present in the surroundings the surface. We provide large area micro/nano structured surface which create the desired properties for drag reduction on customized objects and components. Our extensive knowhow on advanced and alternative manufacturing technologies, can be implemented to create micro/nano topographies on various materials either in planar or 3D forms.
Reduced noise emission
Dry Adhesive Surfaces
The ability of climbing animals (Gecko) to climb on walls has attracted substantial interest from many researchers. Significant progress has been made in understanding the attachment and detachment mechanisms and the fabrication of artificial Gecko-like adhesives and structured surfaces. The physical mechanism relies either on the mechanical attachment of male (or female) to male micro structures or to the Van de Waals forces developed between the opposing surfaces. Bioinspired dry adhesives may change the methods of design in automation and applications which require smart attachment. The disruptive technology based on physical micro/nano textured structures can inexpensively generate easy to use, reversible and reusable attachment systems. Our expertise in micro/nano manufacturing techniques allows us to generate hierarchical structures suitable for dry adhesive and grip on application in various materials and over large areas.
& APPLICATION FOCUS
The fields of applications which our technology and products could be used is continuously expanding. Inspired by nature micro/nano structured topographies are found in numerous biological specimens. Using sophisticated adaptations to existing manufacturing technologies we implement customized and well organized micro/nano structures on diverse materials and surfaces. Saying that, our technology and product portfolio is not restricted to academic laboratories and alerted proof of concept measures. We have countless examples of demonstrated devices and patterned surfaces emerging vast interest in high growth industries including: