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Aerosol-Jet Printing for Functionalization of Prototyping Materials for Electronic Applications
Keywords: additive manufacturing, printed electronics, aerosol-jet printing
To meet the growing demand for adapted 3D electronic devices, e. g. for customized electronic components as well as for Molded Interconnect Devices in small batches, 3D aerosol-jet printing combined with widely-used rapid prototyping methods like stereolithography (STL) and powder-bed based printing (PB) is investigated. Compared to other printing methods for fine pitch structures, the innovative contact and maskless aerosol-jetting is advantageous for structuring of spacial substrates. This is due to the large viscosity range of processible inks (0.7 to 2,500 cP), a flexible stand-off between substrate and nozzle as well as the focal length of the aerosol beam of approximately 4 mm. Focus of the printing tests on STL-materials presented in the paper is the suitability of the nanoparticle silver inks (solvent: water and ethylene glycol, respectively) for additive manufacturing of conductor tracks concerning adhesiveness, conductivity and wettability, which can be improved by plasma treatment. Furthermore, test specimens were assembled by mounting of electronic components using isotropic conductive adhesive. Long term reliability tests of these specimen (thermal cycling at -40 °C/+125 °C; temperature humidity test 85 °C/85 % r. h.) have been performed in respect of the conductivity of circuit tracks and the quality of the joints (shear forces; MTTF). Compared to STL-materials with smooth surfaces aerosol-jet printing on PB-materials requires adapted printing and sintering strategies. Due to the rough porous surface and the low thermal stability of the powder materials selective sintering by light is examined. Despite of reduced contour definition, good conductivity can be achieved. The results will be presented in the final paper and an outlook of further possibilities regarding printing and embedding electronic components will be given.
Johannes Hoerber, scientific assistant
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Factory Automation and Production Systems
Nuremberg, Bavaria

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