Skip to main content

Printing Nanoparticle Copper Ink to Form Functional Electronic Devices

Buy Article:

$20.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Printing as an electronics fabrication technology has clear advantages over traditional methods such as vacuum deposition and etching. The most obvious benefit is the additive nature of printing which when compared with subtractive methods has the potential to greatly reduce waste thereby reducing cost and overall environmental impact. Realizing the great potential of printing electronics has been limited by the availability of low cost inks. To date stable, reliable, and market ready inks for printing conductive lines and circuit patterns have been made almost exclusively of the precious metal silver. Displacing entrenched manufacturing methods will require materials with much lower costs than silver. Applied Nanotech, Inc. (ANI) has developed an ink comprised primarily of copper nanoparticles that can be printed by various techniques, including inkjet. This copper ink will greatly reduce the projected costs of printing electronics when compared with currently available inks.

ANI's nanoparticle copper ink has proven to be suitable for use in many applications. This has been found through printing, sintering, and characterization experiments making use of several types of substrates. Copper ink formulated specifically for inkjet printing has a viscosity of 20cP and surface tension of 30mN/m. This ink can be inkjet printed to form lines as narrow as 30μm. Once sintered this material has roughly 1/3rd the electrical conductivity of bulk copper metal. In other words it is more conductive than nickel or iron, meaning that it is sufficiently conductive for many uses. In terms of functionality in antenna applications this copper ink has proven to be comparable or better than silver ink, i.e., lower attenuation, at frequencies in common use for mobile phone antennas as well as RFIDs. While oxidation is always a concern when using copper, ANI has found that in 6 months of ambient storage printed conductors showed no change in conductivity. Accelerated testing in hot, wet environments shows only small changes in conductivity.

ANI has succeeded in creating simple electronic devices such as functional RFID antennas using this copper ink on various types of plastic film as well as paper and FR4, the glass filled epoxy composite familiar to printed circuit board manufacturers. Due to its material properties and low raw materials cost, copper ink has the potential to push printed electronics from the lab to the fab.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.

  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more