Aerosol Jet Technology

The Aerosol Jet technology delivers the unique ability to print fine-feature electronic, structural and biological patterns onto almost any substrate. The patented process, which is totally different from ink jet, utilizes aerodynamic focusing to precisely deposit electronic and other materials in dimensions ranging from 10 micrometers (microns) up to centimeter scale.

The advantages of the Aerosol Jet technology include:

  • Feature Sizes to 10 microns
  • Thin Layer Deposits from 100 nm
  • Many Materials and Substrates
  • Scalable to support high volume production needs
  • Material viscosities from 1- 1,000 cP
  • Nanomaterial Deposition Capability
  • Non-planar Capability
  • Low-Temperature Processing

 


The Aerosol Jet process begins with a mist generator that atomizes a source material. Particles in the resulting aerosol stream can then be refined in a virtual impactor and further treated on the fly to provide optimum process flexibility.

The material stream is then aerodynamically focused using a flow guidance deposition head, which creates an annular flow of sheath gas to collimate the aerosol. The co-axial flow exits the flow guidance head through a nozzle directed at the substrate, which serves to focus the material stream to as small as a tenth of the size of the nozzle orifice (typically 100µm). Patterning is accomplished by attaching the substrate to a computer-controlled platen, or by translating the flow guidance head while the substrate position remains fixed. The relatively large (>5mm) standoff distance from the deposition head to the substrate allows accurate material deposition on non-planar substrates, over existing structures and into channels.

4-Nozzle-Printing

Once deposited, the materials may undergo a thermal or chemical post-treatment to attain final electrical and mechanical properties and adhesion to the substrate. Aerosol Jet printed electronic systems can locally process the deposition using a laser treatment process that permits the use of substrate materials with very low temperature tolerances, such as polymers. The end result is a high-quality thin film (as fine as 10nm) with excellent edge definition and near-bulk properties.

Aerosol Jet technology is available either in turnkey system configurations or as a modular print engine that can be integrated into automation platforms for high-volume production applications.
The modular architecture is scalable and is designed to enable quick swap out of the Aerosol Jet Print Cassettes from the Print Heads for routine cleaning and ink refill.

AJ Print Engine

Optomec holds numerous patents and has many patents pending on its proprietary Aerosol Jet process and equipment.