Silver nano-ink allows ink-jet print of high-quality conductors

November 10, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Xaar plc, the world leader in industrial inkjet technology, and Lawter, along with its parent company Harima Chemicals Group (HCG), have worked together to optimise the performance of a line of nanosilver conductive inks in the Xaar 1002 industrial inkjet printhead.

The result is applicable to manufacture of consumer electronics goods as a robust and reliable method for printing antennas and sensors with silver nanoparticle ink, as part of a manufacturing process. After oven sintering or photonic curing, Lawter's nanosilver conductive inks can produce lines with thickness below 1 µm (picture, above).

Industrial inkjet offers significant advantages over traditional print technologies to manufacturers of consumer electronics products. Inkjet is a cleaner process than other methods of printing silver inks; this is especially relevant when printing onto a substrate, such as a display, in which any yield loss is very expensive. With inkjet, manufacturers can very precisely control the amount of ink dispensed in certain areas of a pattern so that the ink or fluid deposited can be thicker in some areas and thinner in others. Similarly, inkjet enables the deposition of a much thinner layer of fluids than traditional methods, which is significant for the manufacturers looking to produce thinner devices. In addition, inkjet is one of the few technologies able to print a circuit over a substrate that has a structured surface.

HCG pioneered the development and manufacture of silver nanoparticle conductive inks for the printed electronics industry over 20 years ago and has over 100 patents related to its nanoparticle dispersion technology. This innovative line of nanosilver conductive inks for inkjet printing offers a unique combination of low temperature sintering and high circuit conductivity. Lawter's inks are compatible with a range of photonic curing tools as well as a variety of substrates. The companies assert that these features have been brought together for the first time in a single product, for increased project efficiency, decreased raw material costs and finer line printing.

Xaar's leading printhead, the Xaar 1002, is particularly suitable for Lawter's nanosilver conductive inks due to the printhead's unique TF Technology (fluid recirculation) which ensures a continuous flow of the heavy particulate in the ink to deliver