Nanotech 2010

Inkjet printing of metallic nanoparticles for plastic electronics: Self sintering at room temperature

M. Grouchko, S. Magdassi, A. Kasmyshny
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, IL

Keywords: metallic nanoparticles, sintering, plastic electronics


One of the greatest challenges in fabrication of plastic electronics devices by printing metallic nanoparticles is to obtain highly conductive patterns at sufficiently low temperature which will not damage the polymeric substrate. While printing nanoparticles, conductive patterns can be obtained only if the particles are sintered. Conventional sintering is achieved by heating the printed substrate at elevated temperatures. During the past few years there were several reports on new techniques to obtain sintering of metallic nanoparticles without heating the substrate. These techniques are based on post printing processes like intense pulsed light, plasma etching and microwave treatment. We report here on a “self sintering” process, with no need of any pre- or post-treatment of the printed pattern or the substrate, which enables obtaining conductivity of inkjet printed patterns. The “self sintering” process is triggered by coagulation of the metallic nanoparticles, due to the presence of suitable coagulation agents. Although these agents are present in the ink prior to printing, they come into action only after printing the inks. The coagulation of the metal nanoparticles leads to their sintering and eventually to electrical conductivity of the printed patterns, at temperatures much below the melting point of the bulk metal. This process does not depend on the substrate, and takes place on various substrates, such as plastic and paper. The resulting high conductivity enabled fabrication of various devices, as will be demonstrated in an ink-jet printed plastic electroluminescent device. The synthesis and formulation of the new silver and copper inkjet inks will be also discussed.
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