The Functional Materials Engineering (FME) research group, headed by Prof. dr. ir. Wim Deferme, is investigating printing and coating techniques of a very broad range of functional materials on a wide scale of substrates for several state-of-the-art applications. The focus in the FME research group is threefold:
- An investigation towards the printability of functional materials. Among the broad range of functional materials are conductive nanoparticle and molecular precursor materials, organic materials, scratch and wear resistant materials. These functional materials are blended into a formulation suitable to be printed or coated. The rheological properties of these inks are characterized in close collaboration with other research groups from IMO-UHasselt.
- The deposition of these functional materials on different substrates (glass, foil, paper, textiles) using printing and coating techniques such as drop-on-demand (DoD) inkjet printing, screen printing and ultrasonic spray coating is studied and the final properties are determined using characterization techniques for opto-electronic, thermal and mechanical investigations, even at the nanoscale. Depending on the functional material used, the printing/coating technique and the substrate of choice, a different post-treatment (thermal, laser or flash sintering) should be carried out.
- The application of these functional materials, deposited with the above mentioned techniques, into devices. Together with other research groups at IMO-UHasselt, research is performed towards the upscaling of organic electronics (solar cells, light emitting devices …) for industrial applications. Further, in collaboration with Flanders Make, functional coatings for additive manufactured and other work pieces, are designed and developed, especially for and within collaboration with the manufacturing industries in Flanders.