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Innovative Material Processing for Printed Electronics Manufacturing
Keywords: printed electronics, manufacturing process, curing
To grow as a market technology segment, Printed Electronics products such as advanced displays, packaging, portable consumer electronics, and flexible solar cells must be able to be manufactured at commercial scale and cost, and in novel form factors. The PulseForge tools from NovaCentrix address these needs by providing the ability to dry, sinter, or anneal inks and thin-film materials in only milliseconds, and to be able to do so on a wide variety of substrates, including low temperature, flexible materials. PulseForge tools accomplish this using only intense pulsed light from plasma discharge lamps to briefly heat the film without affecting the substrate. This targeted processing reduces or even eliminates the need for an oven to cure many materials and often shows improved conductive performance. The process is able to cure materials that cannot ordinarily be thermally processed in air such as sintering a copper particle film. Unlike laser curing, the process is broadcast by nature and maskless. Thus, the processing rates are much faster and no critically aligned optics are required. Furthermore, the millisecond timeframe of the process makes it ideal for high speed printing applications for materials even beyond metal inks. Comparative data from both silver and copper based films on low temperature substrates are presented. Sheet resistances as low as 15 m/ and resistivities as low as 2X bulk have been attained with silver. Sheet resistances as low as 70 m/ have been attained with copper. Substrates are cellulose and PET and typical inks processed are 0.5-25 microns thick. PulseForge tool options are available for supporting ink and application development, for scale-up development of applications, or for full production at speeds >200 feet per minute on roll-to-roll or conveyor systems.
Stan Farnsworth, VP Marketing
Austin, TX

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