In order to engrave gravure plate with fine lines structures, conventional art used lithography with dry/wet etching. Lithography with dry/wet etching method allows to engrave lines with smooth concave shape, but its disadvantages include difficulty in controlling aspect ratio, high and uniform in large size process, substrate material limitation due to etching solution availability, and process complexity. We developed ultra-fast laser technology to directly engrave a stainless plate, a gravure plate, to be used for fabricating 23 in. metal-mesh touch panel by gravure offset printing process. The technology employs high energy pulse to ablate materials from a substrate. Because the ultra-fast laser pulse duration is shorter than the energy dissipation time between material lattices, there is no heating issue during the ablation process. Therefore, no volcano-type protrusion on the engraved line edges occurs, leading to good printing quality. After laser engraving, we then reduce surface roughness of the gravure plate using electro-polishing process. Diamond like carbon (DLC) coating layer is then added onto the surface to increase scratch resistance. We show that this procedure can fabricate gravure plate for gravure offset printing process with minimum printing linewidth 10.7 μm. A 23 in. metal-mesh pattern was printed using such gravure plate and fully functional touch panel was demonstrated in this work.
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