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Advances in Conductive Inks Across Multiple Applications
Advances in Conductive Inks Across Multiple Applications
The authors review both traditional and emerging applications for printed electronics, with a focus on the printed functional materials.
Materials Tech

Authored By:
Scott E. Gordon, Jay R. Dorfman
DuPont Microcircuit Materials, Research Triangle Park, NC USA

Daniel Kirk, Kerry Adams
DuPont Microcircuit Materials, Bristol, UK
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Transcript
The origins of printed electronics go back to the 1960s, and close variants of several original applications and market segments remain active today.  

It has been only in recent years that the term Printed Electronics, with the inherent benefits of low cost manufacturing using additive processing, has captured the attention of a much wider audience.  

One consequence of this attention has been the rush to invest in new materials and processes.  

While the results so far have generated some as yet unrealized market hype, there are many new and emerging applications that are just entering into production.  

But instead of requiring radical changes, many of these applications are using screen printed conductive materials that are fundamentally similar to those materials that have been used for over 30 years.  

In this paper the authors review both traditional and emerging applications for Printed Electronics, with a focus on the printed functional materials.  

They also present several recent advances in the capabilities of conductive inks for various deposition methods.
Summary
Printed Electronics is generally defined as the patterning of electronic materials, in solution form, onto flexible substrates, omitting any use of the photolithography, etching, and plating steps commonly found within the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) industry. The origins of printed electronics go back to the 1960s, and close variants of several original applications and market segments remain active today.

Through the 1980s and 1990s Printed Electronic applications based on Membrane Touch Switch and Electroluminescent lighting technologies became common, and the screen printed electronic materials used then have formed the building blocks for many of the current and emerging technologies and applications.

It has been only in recent years that the term Printed Electronics, with the inherent benefits of low cost manufacturing using additive processing, has captured the attention of a much wider audience. One consequence of this attention has been the rush to invest in new materials and patterning processes. While the results so far have generated some as yet unrealized market hype, there are many new and emerging applications that are just entering into production. But instead of requiring radical changes, many of these applications are using screen printed conductive materials that are fundamentally similar to those materials that have been used for over 30 years.

We present here a review of both traditional and emerging applications for Printed Electronics, with a focus on the printed functional materials. We also present several recent advances in the capabilities of conductive inks for various deposition methods.
Conclusions
Printed Electronics is not new, but activity and market hype over the past several years has led to significant attention and global investments into new materials and patterning technologies that have been intended to enable new high volume "Killer" applications.

This is an exciting time for Printed Electronics, and expectations are for continued advances in materials, patterning, and processing technologies. While those types of new materials and products may still emergesuccessfully within this decade, in many ways it is simply the variants of older and more traditional screen printed Polymer Thick Film materials that are now reaching volume production and thus providing growth opportunities for OEMs, fabricators, and material suppliers.
Initially Published in the IPC Proceedings
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