Aerosol Jet systems have 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 (micron) up to centimeter scale.
Aerosol Jet Process Animation
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.
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.
Optomec holds numerous patents and has many patents pending on its proprietary Aerosol Jet process and equipment. Click here for more information on Aerosol Jet Technology and Applications.
The Aerosol Jet printed electronics deposition process supports a broad range of commercially available materials, as well as custom formulations, which are fed to the system in the form of either molecular precursors or particulate suspensions.
A wide range of materials has been successfully deposited, including diluted thick film pastes, thermosetting polymers such as UV-curable epoxies, and solvent-based polymers like polyurethane and polyimide. A combination of chemistry and post-treatment allows functional electronic structures to be fabricated directly on low temperature substrates. Conductor inks including Ag, Pt, Pd, and Cu have been developed with cure temperatures down to 150 C°, and higher temperature ceramics, ruthenates, and ferrites are cured using proprietary laser treatment. Semiconductor, resistor, dielectric adhesives, and etch resist formulations also have been deposited with Aerosol Jet on a wide variety of substrates including polyester, polyimide, glass, C-Si, ceramic, FR4 and metal materials. Even biomaterials such as proteins and DNA have been deposited with Aerosol Jet without denaturing or loss of bio-activity. Bio-degradable polymers such as PLGA have also been deposited with Aerosol Jet. Click here for more information on materials supported with Aerosol Jet.