3D-Inkjet Printing of Flexible and Stretchable Electronics

Vaithilingam, J.
Saleh, E.
Tuck, C.
Wildman, R.
Ashcroft, I.
Hague, R.
Dickens, P.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Texas at Austin

Inkjet printing of conductive tracks on flexible and stretchable materials have gained considerable interest in recent years. Conductive inks including inks with silver nanoparticles, carbon based inks, inks containing poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) doped with polystyrene sulfonic acid (PSS) are being researched widely to obtain a printed electronic patterns. In this study, we present drop-on-demand inkjet printing of conductive silver and PEDOT:PSS on a flexible and stretchable substrate. Process conditions for the inkjet printing of silver nano-particles and PEDOT:PSS were optimised and simple geometrical patterns (straight line and sinewave tracks) were printed. Surface profile, surface morphology and electrical resistance of the printed patterns were examined. The printed silver patterns were observed to be highly conductive; however when stretched, the patterns did not conduct due to the origination of cracks. The measured conductivity for the PEDOT:PSS patterns was significantly lower than the silver patterns; however, they remained conductive when stretched for up to 3 mm. When flexed, PEDOT:PSS remained conductive for a lower radius of curvature (10 mm) than the silver. Among the printed patterns, the sinewave pattern was observed to be superior for flexible electronics application.