Technology_Dielectrophoretic_Printing

Dielectrophoretic Printing

Under the influence of an external electric field nanoparticles in the ink create conductive lines according to the specified parameters.

Pioneering printing system designed by XTPL makes it possible to precisely apply to the printing surface a special ink formulated for this purpose in the company’s laboratories. Under the influence of an external electric field nanoparticles in the ink create conductive lines according to the specified parameters. As such, the thickness of the individual lines (even below 100 nm), their length and the distance between them all vary depending on a specific application.

 

During the process of line formation, the printing head deposits a properly formulated ink – nanoparticles in a mixture of solvents – on a non-conductive substrate, in example such as glass or flexible foil.

 

An external alternating electric field causes nanoparticles to assemble in a clearly defined and controlled way to form a line. The process takes place between a stationary and movable electrode. Stationary electrode can be replaced by the external one, in such case when it is not allowed for the electrode to be placed directly on the substrate.

 

Movable electrode: guides the formation of the line, which becomes an extension of the stationary electrode. Finally, the printing head short-circuits with a metallic pad, and the line connects to the pad while the printing head takes in an excess ink.

COMPARISON OF METHODS

 

INKJET METHOD

 

EHD / ESJET METHOD

 

XTPL METHOD

INKJET (standard - piezoelectric)ESJET/EHDXTPLIMPACT ON
voltageonly voltage applied to a piezoelectric printing nozzle (does not impact the structure or substrate) pulsed voltage, ~100 V to ~1 kValternating voltage, ~1 V to ~10 V less voltage is more potential applications of a given technology
configuration of electrodesno electrodesvoltage applied between the nozzle and the bottom electrode, which is situated below the substrateboth electrodes (stationary and floating) are above the substrate and immersed in the inkwith electrodes placed above the ground, the substrate can be of any thickness
feature size of printed structuresfrom ~ 5 - 10 um to ~100 um≤1 um100 nm to 3 umthinner structures mean increased transparency of conductive layers
type of nanoparticlesno intrinsic limitations regarding nanoparticleselectric field acts on the liquid, no intrinsic limitations regarding nanoparticles: metallic, semiconductor, dielectric electric field acts on nanoparticles; metallic nanoparticles already verified, semiconductor and dielectric nanoparticles are possiblea larger selection of nanoparticles increases the number of potential applications of a given method
means to control the processvoltage applied to a piezoelectric printing nozzleamplitude of the applied voltage and the pulse durationamplitude, shape, and frequency of the electrical signalit probably has no practical consequences
substratesany typethin substrates are preferred to minimize the shielding of the electric field, unless the substrate itself is conductiveany type of dielectric substrates, including glasses, flexible foils, and printed circuit boardsthe fewer restrictions on the substrate, the more potential applications
adhesion to the substratescotch-tape test passedscotch-tape test passedscotch-tape test passeda prerequisite for the stability of the created structures
post-treatmenttemperature, UV lightpost-treatment is required to increase the conductivity of the structure -- temperaturesintering done during the line formation by the current flow post-treatment is usually necessary to reduce the resistance of conductive lines. In XTPL technology, current sintering takes place during the line construction process

XTPL METHOD

By placing both electrodes – the stationery and the mobile one – above the substrate our solution ensures ability to use substrates of any thickness, including substrates that are not flat.

PROOF OF CONCEPT

 

SEM image of human hair (up) and XTPL silver printed line (bottom). The width of the human hair is 100 um and  the width of XTPL line is around 1 um.

 

High magnification SEM image of XTPL silver printed line with a width of 500 nm. The height to width aspect ratio is 1:1.

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