(34f) Self-Aligned Strategy for Printed Electronics

Hyun, W. J., University of Minnesota
Francis, L. F., University of Minnesota
Frisbie, C. D., University of Minnesota
Printed electronics is an emerging field for additive manufacturing of electronic devices with low cost and minimal material waste for a wide range of application areas including displays, distributed sensing, smart packaging, and energy management. Moreover, its compatibility with roll-to-roll production formats and flexible substrates is desirable for high-throughput manufacturing of flexible electronics. Despite the promise, however, the roll-to-roll production of printed electronics is quite challenging due to web movement hindering accurate ink registration and high-fidelity printing. To address this challenge, we have developed a self-aligned printing strategy compatible with roll-to-roll manufacturing by utilizing capillary action of liquid inks on microstructured surfaces. In the process that we term Self-aligned Capillarity-Assisted Lithography for Electronics (SCALE), microstructured ink reservoirs and capillary channels are imprinted on plastic substrates and filled by inkjet printing of functional materials into the reservoirs. The liquid inks move under capillary flow into the adjoining channels, allowing high-resolution patterning and self-alignment of functional materials to build electronic devices with generous printing tolerance. In this talk, I will show fabrication of key building blocks (e.g., transistor, resistor, and capacitor) for electronic circuits using the SCALE process on plastics, suggesting a reliable, effective, and versatile platform to realize high-throughput manufacturing of printed and flexible electronics.