Rolith

Company Background

Rolith, Inc. developes advanced nanostructured coatings and devices based on a proprietary technology for high throughput, large surface area nanolithography. These nanostructures are applicable in Solar, Lighting, Consumer Electronics, Architecture, Energy, Data Storage, Life Science, and other industries. Rolith’s disruptive nanostructuring technology allows cost-effective scaling of nanostructures fabrication in conveyor and Roll-to-Roll modes.  Rolith was started in 2008 by Dr. Boris Kobrin, Julian Zegelman, and Dr. Mark Brongersma.  Since inception, Rolith built a solid IP portfolio of patents covering its proprietary nanolithography method, specialty masks fabrication methods and certain nanophotonics and data storage applications (1a).

Strategic Partnerships

In August 2010, Rolith received funding from a strategic partner, Asahi Glass Corporation, which allowed them to start technology development. Rolith also partnered with an established semiconductor equipment company – SUSS MicroTec, and by spring 2011 they built a prototype of their “Rolling Mask” lithography system. Thereafter, Rolith demonstrated the feasibility of their technology by printing nanostructures on 300 mm x 300 mm glass plates.  In March 2012, Rolith closed a $5M Series A investment round, which was led by a new investor DFJ VTB Aurora venture capital fund and existing investor Asahi Glass Corporation. Rolith’s short-term goal is to develop advanced anti-reflective and self-cleaning coatings on glass products (displays, windows and solar panels) and transfer this technology to manufacturing (1a).

Innovation and Technology

Rolith’s proprietary manufacturing technology employs a parallel patterning scheme that is scalable to large areas of rigid substrate materials (plates and panels) and rolls of flexible films. Their nanofabrication method combines the advantages of Soft Lithography and Near-field Optical Lithography, proved to be reliable in fabrication of nanostructures beyond the diffraction limit. Specific implementation of phase-shift mask approach and plasmonic printing will allow printing structures with feature sizes down to 50 nm. Photoresist patterning is followed by substrate material etch, deposition of functional materials through photoresist template, or conversion of photoresist nanostructure into a functional material (1b).

Rolith is developing advanced nanostructured products for solar energy, green building, solid state lighting and efficient display products using a proprietary nanolithography technology.  Rolith is looking for Joint Development Projects with solar companies (light trapping layers for solar cells), energy storage companies (nanostructured electrodes), display manufacturers (nanostructured TCOs), solid state lighting manufacturers (light extraction layers for LEDs and OLEDs), and other projects requiring low cost/high throughput/ large area nanopatterning technology (2).

Rolith recently announced that it has received an exclusive license to methods of micro and nanopatterning substrates to make transparent conductive electrodes from the University Of Michigan Office Of Technology Transfer (U-M Tech Transfer). The licensed process, developed by University of Michigan professor Jay Guo, is based on patterning, which uses continuous optical lithography and offers a low cost, high throughput approach to manufacturing transparent conductive electrodes.  Transparent conductive electrodes are critical to the operation of various optoelectronic devices and are commonly used in high volume applications such as displays, solar cells, “smart” windows and LEDs. Transparent conductive metal oxides, such as indium tin oxide (ITO) are currently used for this purpose. However, there is a growing need to replace ITOs with alternative solutions for reasons of cost, availability and performance.  Recent discoveries regarding the optical properties of nanopatterned metals have opened up an important opportunity to develop a new class of transparent electrodes without relying on ITOs (1d).

Products

  • Anti-Reflective Coatings
  • Self-Cleaning / Superhydrophobic Coatings
  • Transparent Electrodes for Displays and Solar Cells
  • Color Filters and Colored Surfaces
  • Low-E Glass Surfaces
  • Anti-Fog and Anti-Icing Coatings
  • Anti-Fouling and Anti-Bacterial Surfaces (1c).

Sources

  1. Rolith, Inc. (2012). Retrieved on December 20, 2012
    1. “About Us” from www.rolith.com/company/about-us
    2. “Rolling Mask Lithography” from www.rolith.com/technology/rolling-mask-lithography
    3. “Coatings” from www.rolith.com/coatings/anti-reflective
    4. “Rolith Aims To Address The Growing Market For Transparent Electrodes” (2012, December 10).  from www.rolith.com/press-releases/rolith-aims-to-address-the-growing-market-for-transparent-electrodes
  2. AZoNano (2011, February 6). “Rolith Uses Nanolithography to Create Nanostructured Products for Green Applications.” Retrieved on December 20, 2012 from www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=24210