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Comparison of Sintering Methods and Conductive Adhesives for Interconnections in Inkjet-Printed Flexible Electronics

Research output: Collection of articlesDoctoral Thesis

Details

Original languageEnglish
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages62
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-3515-4
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3505-5
StatePublished - 24 Apr 2015
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Publication series

NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Volume1291
ISSN (Print)1459-2045

Abstract

Increasing demands for flexibility and stretchability for electronic devices are driving the research for novel fabrication technologies. Inkjet-printing is one of these novel electronics fabrication techniques studied and developed globally in recent years and it has some interesting benefits over traditional lithography-based techniques, mainly its additive and digital nature. Traditional manufacturing methods are mature techniques and the processes are well defined and optimized for large scale manufacturing and inkjet-printing is not going to replace the lithography as such for large scale manufacturing. Inkjet-printing does, however, enable whole new ways of electronics fabrication, such as high part-to-part customization and 3D processability, which have previously been either very challenging or even impossible.

So far research has focused mainly on inkjet-printing itself and the jetting process is understood fairly well. However, at the moment printed semiconductor materials are far inferior to traditional semiconductor components and can not enable the same level of functionality or connectivity. Hybrid systems, combining the high performance of traditional semiconductor components and benefits of inkjet-printing, are studied as a solution for fabricating high performance devices with novel fabrication techniques. Hybrid systems require the ability to attach external components to the printed structures and this integration was chosen as one of the main topic for this thesis work as it had not been studied previously and the knowledge was required for developing inkjet-printing.

This thesis analyzes inkjet-printed hybrid systems and focuses on system level integration. The work is done on interconnections including both the sintering of metallic nanoparticles as well as external component interconnections and circuit board to circuit board connections. Sintering research is focused on alternative sintering methods to traditional thermal sintering and evaluation of their usability in electronics fabrication. Electrically conductive adhesives are studied as the main method of forming external connection to components and to other circuit boards.

In the research related to this thesis alternative sintering methods were found to be suitable replacements for traditional thermal sintering with the advantages and disadvantages varying between different technologies. Laser and intense pulsed lighting were generally found to be the most promising techniques for inkjet-printed structures. External connections to traditional surface mounted components as well as other printed circuit boards were also successfully demonstrated in the related publications using electrically conductive adhesive materials. Both the electrical performance and long term reliability of the conductive adhesives were found to be inferior to solder-based interconnections but observations show that the difference is caused by the adhesive material itself, not by the use of inkjet-printing. Thus adhesives can be considered as a viable method for forming external interconnections on inkjet-printed structures.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Academy of Finland

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