SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  AF071-103 (AirForce)
Title:  Production of New Durable, Transparent Conductive Coatings
Research & Technical Areas:  Air Platform, Materials/Processes

 The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 3.5.b.(7) of the solicitation.
  Objective:  To develop durable transparent conductive coatings for canopies with 10 times the life of the current indium tim oxide (ITO) coated polycarbonate.
  Description:  ITO is used as a transparent conductive coating on aircraft canopies providing a variety of electromagnetic functions. ITO coatings are unique as they are typically greater than 85 percent transmissive over a wavelength range of 400 to 1200nm and have sheet resistivities of less than 15 Ohms / square (Ref 1&2). This combination of transmissivity and low resistance is exceptionally rare, as it is very easy to fabricate conductive coatings; however, they are almost always opaque. ITO coating are made by expensive and customized chemical vapor deposition (Ref 3) equipment. The process of coating curved or complex structures is extremely laborious and the yield rate can be low. After production, the canopy coatings have limited durability and scratch resistance, which results frequent replacement. This need for replacement results in a highly reduced mission-capable rate for various aircraft. To eliminate this problem, we are seeking novel and previously unexplored alternatives to ITO coatings. This new material must be easily processed to provide a match to the optical and electrical performance of existing ITO coatings. The materials may be coated onto existing complexly shaped polymer substrates (such as polycarbonate (PC)) or be a component of the polymer that preferentially segregates to the top surface. The replacement material must maintain its electronics and optical properties over a temperature range of -85 to +250F indefinitely. The layer must yield a tenfold improvement in service life over existing ITO coating materials.

  PHASE I: Demonstrate the ability to produce a 12 by 12 inch flat polymer panel with a simultaneous transmissivity of > 80 percent & a sheet resistance of < 25 ohms/ square. Demonstrate durability & ease of fabrication of the test panels as well as a path for meeting Phase II objectives.
  
  PHASE II: Fabricate & deliver 24 by 24 inch flat panels with a simultaneous transmissivity of >85 percent and a sheet resistance of <12 Ohms/square. The offeror shall also demonstrate the ability to apply this coating to complex/curved surfaces while maintaining the optical and electrical properties. The offeror must also demonstrate that the coating meets MIL-C-48497 (Ref 4).

  DUAL USE COMMERCIALIZATION: Military application: The military application of this will be durable transparent conductive coatings for canopies with 10x the life of the current ITO coated polycarbonate. Commercial application: ITO coatings are used in products such as plasma television screens. A low cost easily applied material with identical properties will have an enormous market in the electronics industry.

  References:  1. http://www.ocioptics.com/ito.html 2. http://www.pgo-online.com/intl/katalog/itotrans.html 3. http://www.cerac.com/pubs/cmn/cmn10_2.htm 4. http://store.mil-standards.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=215

Keywords:  ITO, indium tin oxide, transparent, conductive, coatings, canopy, nanoparticles

Questions and Answers:
Q: Would ITO coatings, produced by novel alternative non-CVD method, that can meet your desired specifications, be seriously considered or are only non-ITO coatings acceptable under this topic?
A: Materials used can be ITO or non-ITO. The key is the durability of the coating produced (say 5x CVD ITO), and that it meets the Transmission spec & conductivity spec.
Q: 1. I assume that the coating surface should be conducting. Please confirm.
A: Yes, that is correct.
Q: Would ITO coatings, produced by novel alternative non-CVD method, that can meet your desired specifications, be seriously considered or are only non-ITO coatings acceptable under this topic?
A: Materials used can be ITO or non-ITO. The key is the durability of the coating produced (say 5x CVD ITO), and that it meets the Transmission spec & conductivity spec.
Q: 1. I assume that the coating surface should be conducting. Please confirm.
A: Yes, that is correct.

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