Novel Photoresist for Patterning on Flexible Substrates

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing


  • C. Grant Willson, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering/Chemistry and Biochem
  • Christopher Ellison, Ph.D.
  • Wei-Lun Kane Jen , Chemical Engineering
  • Michael Maher , University of Texas at Austin
  • Brandon Rawlings , Chemical Engineering
  • Jeffrey Strahan, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Christopher Bates , Chemistry
  • Dustin Janes, Ph.D.

Background/unmet need

As the design and performance of flat-panel displays have evolved, development has focused on producing ever thinner and more lightweight units. This focus has led to an increased interest in flexible substrates for the backplanes of these systems. Polymer substrates offer advantages like lower cost, less damage due to breakage, and flexibility, along with the ability to create ultra-large panel sizes.

The difficulty with photolithography on flexible substrates is the thermal and dimensional stability of the polymers themselves. The inherent instabilities create problems with standard photolithographic processes being able to accurately repeat steps one on top of the other.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel photoresist that is designed to allow for the simultaneous imaging of two levels of a structure. The novel dual-tone photoresist proves capable of retaining a latent image during the etch process, enabling the patterning of two layers of circuitry with a single application of chemistry.


  • Dual tone formulation allows for patterning of two layers in a single step, thereby enabling high speed, roll-to-roll processing on flexible substrates
  • Novel material avoids errors introduced when two separate lithography steps are used to achieve layer-to-layer alignment during patterning on flexible substrates.

Market potential/applications

BCC Research reports the U.S. market for electronic applications of high-performance films will grow from 141 million lbs in 2010 to 206 million lbs in 2017, representing a compound annual growth rate of 6.7%. 

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status

  • 3 foreign patents application filed
  • 1 foreign patent issued
  • 1 U.S. patent issued:
  • 1 U.S. patent issued: 9,557,640
  • 1 U.S. patent issued: 9,823,568