Coated Surfaces for Inkjet-Printed Conductors

University dissertation from Sundsvall : Mid Sweden University

Abstract: In this thesis, a number of commercially available paper substrates of various types are characterized and their characteristics related to the performance of inkjet-printed conductors using silver nanoparticle ink. The evaluated performance variables are electrical conductivity as well as the minimum achievable conductor width and the edge raggedness. It is shown that quick absorption of the ink carrier is beneficial for achieving well defined conductor geometry and high conductivity. Surface roughness with topography variations of sufficiently large amplitude and frequency is detrimental to print definition and conductivity. Porosity is another important factor, where the characteristic pore size is much more important than the total pore volume. A nearly ideal porous coating has large total pore volume but small characteristic pore size, preferably smaller than individual nanoparticles in the ink. Apparent surface energy is important for non-absorbing substrates but of limited importance for coatings with a high absorption rate.Additionally, a concept for improving the geometric definition of inkjet-printed conductors on nonporous films has been demonstrated. By coating the films with polymer–based coatings to provide a means of ink solvent removal, minimum conductor width were reduced a factor 2 or more.Intimately connected to the end performance of printed conductors is a well adapted sintering methodology. A comparative evaluation of a number of selective sintering methods has been performed on paper substrates with different heat tolerance. Pulsed high-power white light was found to be a good compromise between conductivity performance, reliability and production adaptability.The purpose of the work conducted in this thesis is to increase the knowledge base in how surface characteristics of papers and flexible films affect performance of printed nanoparticle structures. This would improve selection, adaption of, or manufacturing of such substrates to suit printed high conductivity patterns such as printed antennas for packaging.