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The road from S2S to R2R - status, risks and visions for processing ultra-thin glass

  • Junghähnel, Manuela
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2016
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Ultra-thin glass with thicknesses of less than 200 μm is bendable as a sheet of paper. It is still a relatively new product and opens up completely new ideas for applications of glass as high-tech material. The activities on thin glass are currently in the initial phase. They are supported by various visionary applications of large display manufacturers, such as large, curved, flexible displays, but also OLEDs for television or lights, smart energy saving or energy-efficient, active electronics. The property profiles of thin glass, coated thin glass and thin glass laminates have been so far relatively unexplored, but the flexibility of the glass has high potential for large-scale processing in in-line or roll to-roll processes. Its superior material characteristics are outstanding and distinguishing it from other flexible materials, especially polymer web materials. These include dimensional stability, heat resistance, the high permeation barrier, excellent surface finish and low weight. Currently established technologies are obviously optimized for the processing of flexible materials such as polymers or metals. They cannot cope with the complex requirements of glass as a substrate material. This results in a high demand for a variety of new concepts and technology development for processing of ultra-thin glass during cleaning, cutting or coating and finishing in products or devices. Intensive efforts have been made to improve the reliability of thin glass and to enhance process technologies, equipment development and device integration. One of the main questions for future processing of thin glass in this is: Which process technology will prevail, sheet-to-sheet or roll-to-roll technology?

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