Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Low-cost nanotechnology substitute for gold and silver in printable electronics

Ink-jet printing of metal nanoparticles for conductive metal patterns has attracted great interest as an alternative to expensive fabrication techniques like vapor deposition. The bulk of the research in this area focuses on printing metal nanoparticle suspensions for metallization. For example, silver and gold nanoparticle suspensions have been inkjet printed to build active microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), flexible conductors and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Nobel metals like silver and gold are preferred nanoparticles for ink-jet formulations because they are good electrical conductors and they do not cause oxidation problems. However, gold and silver still are too expensive for most high volume, ultra low-cost applications such as RFID tags with required unit costs below one cent.

In order to print metals one needs to prepare a metal ink, or, in terms of materials engineering, it requires matching the properties of small metal particles with an ink-jet base fluid. Furthermore, for large-scale and low-cost industrial applications, the ink needs to be rugged and stable against air and humidity.


Source: Nanowerk.com

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