Research Papers

Direct Printing and Electrical Characterization of Conductive Micro-Silver Tracks by Alternating Current-Pulse Modulated Electrohydrodynamic Jet Printing

[+] Author and Article Information
Hantang Qin, Chuang Wei, Jingyan Dong

Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial
and Systems Engineering,
North Carolina State University,
Raleigh, NC 27695

Yuan-Shin Lee

Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial
and Systems Engineering,
North Carolina State University,
Raleigh, NC 27695
e-mail: yslee@ncsu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received April 10, 2015; final manuscript received June 7, 2016; published online September 21, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Jack Zhou.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 139(2), 021008 (Sep 21, 2016) (10 pages) Paper No: MANU-15-1163; doi: 10.1115/1.4033903 History: Received April 10, 2015; Revised June 07, 2016

In this paper, a rapid prototyping method for fabrication of highly conductive micropatterns on insulating substrates was developed and evaluated. Sub-20 μm microstructures were printed on flexible insulating substrates using alternating current (AC) modulated electrohydrodynamic jet (e-jet) printing. The presented technique resolved the challenge of current rapid prototyping methods in terms of limited resolution and conductivity for microelectronic components for flexible electronics. Significant variables of fabrication process, including voltage, plotting speeds, curing temperature, and multilayer effect, were investigated to achieve reliable printing of silver tracks. Sub-20 μm silver tracks were successfully fabricated with resistivity about three times than bulk silver on flexible substrates, which indicates the potential applications of electrohydrodynamic printing in flexible electronics and medical applications, such as lab-on-chip systems.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Silver , Drops , Printing
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Fig. 1

Schematic of e-jet printing

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Fig. 2

Mechanism of ac-pulse modulated e-jet printing on highly insulating substrate: adjacent alternative positive and negative charged droplets will neutralize residual charges on the substrate for stable printing of continuous patterns

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Fig. 3

(a) Lab setup of e-jet printing for experiment and (b) optical image of e-jet printing working at cone-jet mode

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Fig. 4

Three-dimensional AFM image of printed dots

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Fig. 5

Sketches on a microscopic of (a) mechanism of falling droplets, (b) requirements for printing continuous patterns, and (c) measurement of cross section of printed silver tracks with average height of 30.73 nm and a line width of 6.06 μm

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Fig. 6

(a) Printed silver tracks at different pulse amplitudes, (b) line width of printed silver tracks in regard to pulse amplitude, (c) printed silver tracks at different pulse frequencies, and (d) line width of silver tracks in regard to pulse frequency

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Fig. 7

Printed silver tracks at different plotting speeds

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Fig. 8

(a) Printed single-layer silver track, (b) printed multilayers silver track, (c) single-layer pattern with average thickness of 46 nm and line width of 5.9 μm, and (d) 20-layer pattern with average thickness of 187 nm and line width of 13.1 μm

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Fig. 9

Sketches on changes that occur during curing of silver nanoparticles

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Fig. 10

(a) Particle clusters of printed 20-layer silver tracks cured instantly at 220 °C and (b) printed 20-layer silver tracks cured to 220 °C with a ramped modality

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Fig. 11

(a) Resistivity in regard to curing temperature and (b) shrinkage of silver tracks with a reduction in cross section area due to curing process

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Fig. 12

Electronic patterns and components printed on highly insulating substrates: (a) printed interconnects on PET film for flexible and printed electronics and (b) printed fence pattern on ABF film possibly for sensors and transducers




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