In this study, pulsed laser based curing of a printed nanoink (nanoparticle ink) combined with moderate and controlled substrate heating was investigated to create microconductors at low enough temperatures appropriate for polymeric substrates. The present work relies on (1) the melting temperature depression of nanoparticles smaller than a critical size, (2) DOD (drop on demand) jettability of nanoparticle ink, and (3) control of the heat affected zone induced by pulsed laser heating. In the experiments, gold nanoparticles of 3-7 nm diameter dissolved in toluene solvent were used as ink. This nanoink was printed on a polymeric substrate that was heated to evaporate the solvent during or after printing. The overall morphology of the gold microline was determined by the printing process and controlled by changing the substrate temperature during jetting. In addition, the printed line width of about 140 μm at the room temperature decreased to 70-80 μm when the substrate is heated at 90°C. By employing a microsecond pulsed laser, the nanoparticles were melted and coalesced at low temperature to form a conductive microline which had just 3-4 times higher resistivity than the bulk value without damaging the temperature sensitive polymeric substrate. This gold film also survived after Scotch tape test. These are remarkable results, considering the fact that the melting temperature of bulk gold is 1064°C and the polymeric substrate can be thermally damaged at temperatures as low as 500°C.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Mechanical Engineering