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Pulse Thermal Processing of Functional Materials Using a Directed Plasma Arc

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryUsing pulses of high density infrared light from a directed plasma arc, ORNL researchers
invented a method to thermally process thin films and other functional materials on
temperature-sensitive substrates. This approach, pulse thermal processing, could
revolutionize the handling of functional materials because it reduces the necessary
processing time to seconds from what is currently minutes or hours.

DescriptionIn the basic method, the researchers expose areas of a functional material to at least
one pulse of infrared radiation from a plasma arc lamp. The lamp emits broadband
infrared radiation for no more than 10 seconds. Samples that can be processed this way
include nanoparticles, thin or thick film, and photovoltaic material. The temperature
sensitive substrate supporting the sample can be a biomaterial, polymer, resin, metal,
ceramic, or semiconductor.
BenefitsWith this invention, thin films can be processed on sensitive polymer substrates at high
temperatures with little to no harmful effect on the material. This is an improvement
over conventional means, which cannot tolerate high temperatures.

Permits the use of light weight, flexible substrates
Reduces processing time substantially

Applications and IndustriesCrystallization
Annealing of thin films
Processing thin film transistors or batteries
Processing photovoltaic or thermoelectric devices on polymers
Protective layers for electronic chips
Surface treatment of polymer implants
Phase transformations
Processes that would benefit from sequential rapid heating in millisecond durations
More InformationPatent
Ronald D. Ott, Craig A. Blue, Nancy J. Dudney, and David C. Harper, Pulse Thermal Processing of Functional Materials Using Directed Plasma Arc, U.S. Patent 7,220,936, issued May 22, 2007.

Lead Inventor
Ronald D. Ott
Materials Science and Technology Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,220,936
Pulse thermal processing of functional materials using directed plasma arc
A method of thermally processing a material includes exposing the material to at least one pulse of infrared light emitted from a directed plasma arc to thermally process the material, the pulse having a duration of no more than 10 s.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 05/22/2007
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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To: Alexander G. DeTrana<>