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Development of Precursor Inks for Electronic Materials Deposition

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Thin film semiconductors, metals and insulators constitute the basic building blocks for a wide range of devices including solar cells, flat panel displays, sensors and a variety of electro-optical devices. Conventionally these devices have been made up from a variety of PVD deposited layers and photolithographic patterning steps in sequence. This approach is both capital and time intensive and uses materials inefficiently. The need to lower the cost and increase the scale and market penetration of these devices has stimulated an examination of low-cost deposition and patterning approaches. NREL has focused on the development of ink-based technologies coupled with rapid thermal processing and laser processing as an alternative to conventional microelectronics processing. Deposition of thin films using liquid precursor inks offers an attractive alternative to the traditional vacuum-based approaches. The key is the development of precursors that are stable and easy to handle and that decompose under reasonable conditions to give the desired material. We have developed a flexible approach to ink development that involves the use of metal organic decomposition (MOD) complexes and nanoparticles as precursors for deposition of materials. Using this approach, semiconductor and oxide films have been deposited using both nanoparticle and MOD inks, and inks for printing metals and conducting polymers have been developed. Ink formulations and the advantages of liquid precursors will be discussed and illustrated using examples of semiconductor and metal deposition. We will also briefly assess the state of the art for ink jet printing (the preferred deposition tool) for this technology where an increasing commercial interest in printing electronic materials has driven the development of higher resolution, higher through-put tools.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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