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TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OPPORTUNITY: Nanocomposite Barrier Films for Photovoltaic Applications


b.      TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OPPORTUNITY: Nanocomposite Barrier Films for Photovoltaic Applications

This Technology Transfer Opportunity solicits interested companies to license a newly developed and patented thin film coating that can be used as an encapsulant for photovoltaic module assemblies and barrier coating in other photovoltaic applications.


Polymer-clay nanocomposites (PCN) thin film coatings have improved water vapor and oxygen permeability, in addition to improved corrosion resistance, while retaining high transparency, high electrical resistivity, and excellent fire-retardant properties for use as encapsulants for photovoltaic module assemblies and barrier coatings in other photovoltaic applications.


In these unique composite materials, repeated sequential deposition of solutions of clays (vermiculite, montmorillonite, etc.) and solutions of polymers (polyethylenimine,  poly(acrylic acid, etc.) layer with complimentary charged functional groups (positive and negative) forms a coating.  The coating can be deposited with many various repeating schemes as it is built one layer at a time. Once cured, the microstructure resembles a brick and mortar system where the clay platelets are the “bricks” and the polymer is the ”mortar”. The facile and scalable layer-by-layer processing is applicable to many substrates, from porous and flexible items such as fabrics and foams to hard dense materials such as glass or ceramics. 


As an impermeable barrier, the structure dictates a tortuous path for oxygen or water molecules to follow, which decreases the water transmission rate by over an order of magnitude beyond ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA). During a fire, the applied composite coating reduces the heat rate release, and can act as a flame retardant system. In an arcing electrical system, the PCN coating promotes extinguishment and increases time to flame by as much as 300%.


Sandia National Laboratories Information:

Licensing Information: Sandia National Laboratories

Contact: Margaret Gordon,

License type: Non-Exclusive

Patent Status: Active -

Publication date: 06/19/2018

Filing date: 05/24/2017


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