Inkjet of metallic nanoparticle suspension ink on flexible substrates has become one of the most popular choices for printed electronics. However, it requires long post-processing for post-drying of the ink and post-sintering of the nanoparticles. The post-drying process often leads to segregation of the nanoparticles and thus discontinuity in the printed lines due to the “coffee ring” effect. The post-sintering process is limited by the sintering temperature imposed by the plastic substrates, which often results in low conductivity of the printed lines. In this talk, we present Microheater Array Powder Sintering (MAPS), a new digital printing method that combines the digital patterning of the nanoparticles and post-processing (i.e., drying and sintering) into one step and overcomes the fundamental challenges of inkjet for printed electronics. MAPS uses a microheater array to digitally deliver a focused heat pattern to selectively sinter nanoparticles on a millisecond timescale by placing the microheater array in close proximity to the surface of the nanoparticles, which provides a new scalable, low-cost, and energy-efficient fabrication method for printed electronics. We will first present a numerical proof-of-concept of MAPS, followed with the design, fabrication, packaging, and control of the microheater array. Test printing on a thermal paper and with a nanopaste screen ink have been performed. Results shows great promise of MAPS as an economic alternative fabrication method for printed electronics.
- Learn the benefits of the emerging MAPS technology compared with existing similar technologies and understand how it works.
- Understand how the MAPS technology was developed and how it might be used for different applications.
- Understand how a microheater array can be a low-cost and efficient energy patterning device.