Advances in Multi-Layer Conductive Ink-Jet Printing on Textiles

A. Mills
North Carolina State University,
United States

Keywords: ink-jet, textiles, printing, flexible electronics


Printing electronics is a fundamental component of today’s electronic device manufacturing processes, particularly for flexible electronics. A wide range of silk-screen to gravure-roll methods are used to deposit ink onto planar substrates such as Kapton, glass, silicon wafers, or textiles. In addition to device function, materials cost and manufacturing throughput are key metrics in the applicability of these processes to industry. The use of ink-jet printing has been developed in recent years as a means of improving automation of device fabrication and reducing the need for binder materials in the ink matrix, therefore allowing for nanoscale coatings of pure metal and dielectric materials to be patterned and annealed at low curing temperatures in comparison to their binder-filled counterparts. Of interest to flexible electronics, is the ability to print these nanoscale layers that are compliant in terms of ink adhesion and surface defects that can challenge the ability to achieve high bending curvature. Toward more complex devices, challenges persist in identifying the compatibility in multi-layered structures in which horizontal ink spreading and migration between layers which can result in poor device performance. This session explores these issues from a materials science perspective and discusses the recent advances in all ink-jet printed, multi-layer devices on textiles such as capacitors and antennas.