We report about a detailed comparison of the additive manufacturing methods inkjet printing (IJP) and aerosol jet printing (AJP). Both technologies are based on the direct-writing approach enabling the non-contact deposition of various materials in flexible patterns, e.g., for printed electronic applications. The deposited pattern elements were classified as (i) drops (IJP) or splats (AJP), (ii) lines, and (iii) squares. These elements can be considered as basic elements of the deposition systems and also of printed electronics. The pattern elements were deposited with IJP and AJP using the same silver nanoparticle ink. After printing, the layers were characterized regarding their morphology by optical and topographical measurement methods as well as regarding their electrical characteristics. It turned out that drops deposited with IJP and splats deposited with AJP can have similar dimensions. However, the shapes of the deposits differ widely. In the case of lines, AJP enables narrower line widths and thinner line thicknesses in comparison to IJP. In IJP, the line morphology varies depending on the direction of the deposition. Finally, the morphology of the deposited lines determines the electrical conductivity. For printed squares, the IJP layers show much higher layer thickness and a different layer topography compared with AJP as result of a higher volume per area deposition of materials
A novel wearable electronic nose for armpit odor analysis is proposed by using a low-cost chemical sensor array integrated in a ZigBee wireless communication system. We report the development of a carbon nanotubes (CNTs)/polymer sensor array based on inkjet printing technology. With this technique both composite-like layer and actual composite film of CNTs/polymer were prepared as sensing layers for the chemical sensor array. The sensor array can response to a variety of complex odors and is installed in a prototype of wearable e-nose for monitoring the axillary odor released from human body. The wearable e-nose allows the classification of different armpit odors and the amount of the volatiles released as a function of level of skin hygiene upon different activities.
The demand for real-time monitoring of cell functions and cell conditions has dramatically increased with the emergence of organ-on-a-chip (OOC) systems. However, the incorporation of co-cultures and microfluidic channels in OOC systems increases their biological complexity and therefore makes the analysis and monitoring of analytical parameters inside the device more difficult. In this work, we present an approach to integrate multiple sensors in an extremely thin, porous and delicate membrane inside a liver-on-a-chip device. Specifically, three electrochemical dissolved oxygen (DO) sensors were inkjet-printed along the microfluidic channel allowing local online monitoring of oxygen concentrations. This approach demonstrates the existence of an oxygen gradient up to 17.5% for rat hepatocytes and 32.5% for human hepatocytes along the bottom channel. Such gradients are considered crucial for the appearance of zonation of the liver. Inkjet printing (IJP) was the selected technology as it allows drop on demand material deposition compatible with delicate substrates, as used in this study, which cannot withstand temperatures higher than 130 °C. For the deposition of uniform gold and silver conductive inks on the porous membrane, a primer layer using SU-8 dielectric material was used to seal the porosity of the membrane at defined areas, with the aim of building a uniform sensor device. As a proof-of-concept, experiments with cell cultures of primary human and rat hepatocytes were performed, and oxygen consumption rate was stimulated with carbonyl-cyanide-4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenylhydrazone (FCCP), accelerating the basal respiration of 0.23 ± 0.07 nmol s-1/106 cells up to 5.95 ± 0.67 nmol s-1/106 cells s for rat cells and the basal respiration of 0.17 ± 0.10 nmol s-1/106 cells by up to 10.62 ± 1.15 nmol s-1/106 cells for human cells, with higher oxygen consumption of the cells seeded at the outflow zone. These results demonstrate that the approach of printing sensors inside an OOC has tremendous potential because IJP is a feasible technique for the integration of different sensors for evaluating metabolic activity of cells, and overcomes one of the major challenges still remaining on how to tap the full potential of OOC systems.
In this contribution we discuss the sintering of an inkjet-printed copper nanoparticle ink based on electrical performance and microstructure analysis. Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) sintering are employed in order to compare the different techniques and their feasibility for electronics manufacturing. A conductivity of more than 20% of that of bulk copper material has been obtained with both sintering methods. Laser and IPL sintering techniques are considered to be complementary techniques and are highly suitable in different application fields.
We demonstrate intense pulsed light (IPL) sintering of inkjet-printed CuO layers on a primer-coated porous PET substrate to convert the electrically insulating CuO into conductive Cu. With this approach, conductive layers are obtained in less than 1 s after the printing process. The IPL sintering was performed for high productivity with minimum duration and repetition of IPL irradiation to evaluate the effect of pulse number and energy output on the conductivity and morphology of the sintered Cu layers. Depending on the energy output, sheet resistances were measured as 0.355, 0.131, and 0.121 Ω·□(-1) by exposure energy of 5.48 (single pulse), 7.03 (double pulse), and 7.48 J·cm(-2) (triple pulse), respectively. In contrast, an excessive energy with relatively short pulse duration causes a delamination of the Cu layer. The lowest resistivity of about 55.4 nΩ·m (corresponds to about 30% conductivity of bulk Cu) was obtained by an IPL sintering process of 0.26 s after the printing, which was composed of 2 ms triple pulses with 10 Hz frequency.
We report on the detailed electrical investigation of all-inkjet-printed thin-film transistor (TFT) arrays focusing on TFT failures and their origins. The TFT arrays were manufactured on flexible polymer substrates in ambient condition without the need for cleanroom environment or inert atmosphere and at a maximum temperature of 150 °C. Alternative manufacturing processes for electronic devices such as inkjet printing suffer from lower accuracy compared to traditional microelectronic manufacturing methods. Furthermore, usually printing methods do not allow the manufacturing of electronic devices with high yield (high number of functional devices). In general, the manufacturing yield is much lower compared to the established conventional manufacturing methods based on lithography. Thus, the focus of this contribution is set on a comprehensive analysis of defective TFTs printed by inkjet technology. Based on root cause analysis, we present the defects by developing failure categories and discuss the reasons for the defects. This procedure identifies failure origins and allows the optimization of the manufacturing resulting finally to a yield improvement.
Printed flexible electronics have been widely studied for their potential use in various applications. In this paper, a simple, low-cost method of fabricating flexible electronic circuits with high conductivity of 4.0 × 10 S·m (about 70% of the conductivity of bulk copper) is demonstrated. Teslin paper substrate is treated with stannous chloride (SnCl) colloidal solution to reduce the high ink absorption rate, and then the catalyst ink is inkjet-printed on its surface, followed by electroless deposition of copper at low temperature. In spite of the decrease in conductance to some extent, electronic circuits fabricated by this method can maintain function even under various folding angles or after repeated folding. This developed technology has great potential in a variety of applications, such as three-dimensional devices and disposable RFID tags.
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