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Inkjet Printing – Chemistry and Applications

February 19, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Advertising News

Inkjet technologies are well known for creating designs and images using coloured inks, however they may also be applied to a multitude of other systems where patterns of different materials are required for specific functions.

The printing of tracks of hydrophobic or hydrophilic material can allow lab on a chip devices to direct the flow of aqueous and non-aqueous media, or the deposition of transparent protective films cheaply on large area devices to extend lifetime.  Conventional vacuum based technologies currently dominate in these areas, which is something that the industry seeks to change.

The new application of inkjet printing provides innovation for controlling pattern formation without masking to aid digital design formation directly.  This approach also provides many potential sustainability and efficiency advantages through reduced waste generation and higher throughput due to process complexity reduction and removal of vacuum processing requirements.

The development of a new Surface Engineering and Advanced Coating (SEAC) process for metal oxides is being examined by many leading academics with particular interest in transparent conducting coatings. This method employs simple, cheap and efficient inkjet printing technologies and the ability to coat functional films and patterns on flexible substrates. This is seen as an enabling technology in many fields, and the competence to fabricate high performance films in a more flexible, reduced cost manner is a requirement for the wider adoption of SEAC based products.

To achieve the highest performance films and patterns there remain many issues to solve with thermal budget top of the agenda – the high temperatures employed when coating glass cannot be used for plastic. As a result of this, new chemistry and new post deposition processing is being studied to develop this potentially disruptive technology for applications currently not accessible.  EpiValence has a wealth of expertise in alkoxide chemistry and is exploiting this knowledge in molecular tailoring and formulation to provide new directions.

The flexibility of inkjet printing means that added functionality can be included in films through the addition of nanoparticles or other additives into the inks without the need to change equipment set up. This means that rapid process change can be achieved with minimal downtime.

Digital pattern printing can be applied such that design changes can be incorporated on the fly as required.  To advance the technology field of printing transparent conductive coatings EpiValence is working with a range of European partners in the H2020 project INFINITY.  In addition, a PhD student is being sponsored at Liverpool University to specifically focus on the inkjet process development area.

Epivalence offers a range of products that are suited to solution processing and printed electronics on glass with exciting new products being added as they are proven by our research team. For more information on inkjet process development, please visit www.epivalence.com.