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Materials 2011, 4(6), 963-979; doi:10.3390/ma4060963

Microstructural and Process Characterization of Conductive Traces Printed from Ag Particulate Inks

1
Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
2
W. M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
4
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 April 2011 / Accepted: 23 May 2011 / Published: 26 May 2011
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Abstract

Conductive inks are key enablers for the use of printing techniques in the fabrication of electronic systems. Focus on the understanding of aspects controlling the electrical performance of conductive ink is paramount. A comparison was made between microparticle Ag inks and an Ag nanoparticle ink. The microstructures resulting from thermal cure processes were characterized morphologically and also in terms of their effect on the resistivity of printed traces. For microparticle inks, the variability of resistivity measurements between samples as defined by coefficient of variation (CV) was greater than 0.1 when the resistivity was 10 to 50 times that of bulk Ag. When the resistivity was lower (~1.4 times that of bulk Ag) the CV of sample sets was less than 0.1. In the case of the nanoparticle ink, resistivity was found to decrease by a factor ranging from 1.2 to 1.5 after doubling the amount of layers printed prior to curing though it was expected to remain the same. Increasing the amount of layers printed also enhanced the sintering process.
Keywords: conductive ink; Ag nanoparticles; inkjet; scanning electron microscopy; microstructures conductive ink; Ag nanoparticles; inkjet; scanning electron microscopy; microstructures
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Roberson, D.A.; Wicker, R.B.; Murr, L.E.; Church, K.; MacDonald, E. Microstructural and Process Characterization of Conductive Traces Printed from Ag Particulate Inks. Materials 2011, 4, 963-979.

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