(19)
(11)EP 3 318 110 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.01.2021 Bulletin 2021/02

(21)Application number: 16820593.8

(22)Date of filing:  30.06.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H05K 3/12(2006.01)
C09D 11/52(2014.01)
C09D 11/322(2014.01)
C09D 11/037(2014.01)
H01L 21/288(2006.01)
B82Y 30/00(2011.01)
H05K 3/22(2006.01)
C09D 11/033(2014.01)
C09D 11/36(2014.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/CA2016/050767
(87)International publication number:
WO 2017/004702 (12.01.2017 Gazette  2017/02)

(54)

METHOD OF PRINTING ULTRANARROW LINE

FAHREN ZUM DRUCKEN ULTRASCHMALER LINIEN

PROCÉDÉ D'IMPRESSION D'UNE LIGNE UTLRA-ÉTROITE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 03.07.2015 US 201562188579 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
09.05.2018 Bulletin 2018/19

(73)Proprietor: National Research Council of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R6 (CA)

(72)Inventors:
  • CHU, Ta-Ya
    Ottawa, Ontario K1C 5Y9 (CA)
  • ZHANG, Zhiyi
    Ottawa, Ontario K2T 1J1 (CA)
  • TAO, Ye
    Ottawa, Ontario K1C 6H5 (CA)

(74)Representative: Richardt Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
Wilhelmstraße 7
65185 Wiesbaden
65185 Wiesbaden (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A1- 2006 163 744
US-A1- 2009 181 172
US-B2- 7 615 483
US-A1- 2009 181 172
US-B2- 7 615 483
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD



    [0001] The present disclosure relates generally to fabrication techniques for printable electronic devices and, in particular, to a technique for printing a narrow line in fabricating a printable electronic device.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Printing on flexile and low-cost substrates is an increasingly popular method of fabricating low-cost electronic devices. Nevertheless, the features that are achievable using conventional printing processes are still too large in comparison with those obtained by traditional photolithographic techniques. The narrowest conductive lines that can be directly printed with a commercial picoliter volume of print head, for instance, were reported to be -30 µm wide. It is critically important to reduce the feature size, such as line width, in order to be able to print high-performance electronic devices.

    [0003] When printing on smooth and nonporous substrates, a line width of around 30 µm to 50 µm can usually be obtained using conventional printing technology. The line width is primarily dictated by the surface energy difference between the substrate surface and ink. By controlling this difference, and other parameters, such as ink viscosity, drying process, substrate temperature, surface energy and surface tension, a line width of 15 µm can be printed using a commercial print head with a droplet volume of around 1 pl to 10 pl. For scalable printing methods, such as inkjet printing, flexo printing, gravure printing, and screen printing, 10-30 µm is the limit for direct printing. Some new technologies have been developed to print narrower lines, but they require additional steps. The popular ink-bank method, for instance, requires initial patterning of the substrate using a material with desired surface energy to control the ink spread after being printed on the substrate. Other techniques, like electrohydrodynamic jet printing, have been demonstrated to print narrow lines less than 2 µm wide using a femtoliter nozzle. However, electrohydrodynamic jet printing is not scalable for mass production.

    [0004] Conventional methods of optimizing surface tension difference, viscosity, drying process and other parameters can only reduce the line width down to about 15 µm. While a patterning step could reduce the printed line width to a submicrometer scale, this patterning step also is costly and introduces non-functional features which reduce integration density.

    [0005] Accordingly, a new or improved printing technique would be highly desirable in order to print ultranarrow lines.

    [0006] The US 7 615 483 B2 refers to a method of forming vias and pillars using printed masks. The printed masks are typically made from droplets that include suspended metal nanoparticles. The use of the same metal nanoparticle solution in both the mask formation and the subsequent formation of conducting structures simplifies the fabrication process.

    [0007] The US 2009/181172A1 refers to an ink composition and a method. The ink composition comprises: a plurality of metallic nanoparticles suspended in a carrier, wherein the carrier comprises water and at least one organic solvent miscible with water, and wherein the composition is formulated for slow dry rate and proper viscosity for DPN. The method comprises: depositing a composition onto a cantilever, wherein the composition comprises a plurality of metallic nanoparticles suspended in a carrier, wherein the carrier comprises water and at least one organic solvent miscible with water. The composition can be used in direct writing onto surfaces to form patterns and arrays using cantilevers, microcontact printing, ink jet printing, and other methods. The composition is particularly useful for preparing nanoscale features and forming high quality continuous conductive lines and dots, including silver based lines and dots. Applications include surface repair.

    [0008] The US 2006/163744 A1 refers to an electrical conductor formed from one or more metallic inks. The electrical conductor comprises a network of interconnected metallic nodes. Each node comprises a metallic composition, e.g., one or more metals or alloys. The network defines a plurality of pores having an average pore volume of less than about 10,000,000 nm3. The electrical conductors advantageously have a high degree of conductivity, e.g., a resistivity of not greater than about 10× the resistivity of the (bulk) metallic composition, which forms the individual nodes.

    SUMMARY



    [0009] The present disclosure provides a new-method of claim 1 of printing an ultranarrow lines of a functional material and a printing, as specified in claim 16, of a gate of a transistor of a printable electronic device according to the method. The method exploits the interaction between an ink containing a solvent mixture and the substrate (or interlayer) upon which the ink is deposited. The solvent mixture slightly dissolves the substrate (or interlayer) while its evaporation/drying causes shrinkage of the line width. The resulting line has a sunken or embedded profile.

    [0010] Accordingly, one example is a method of providing a substrate having an interlayer on the substrate and printing the ultranarrow line by depositing ink on the interlayer of the substrate, the ink comprising the functional material and a solvent mixture that partially dissolves the interlayer on the while its evaporation/drying causes the ink to shrink and sink into the interlayer on the substrate thereby reducing a width of the line. The surface energy may change during evaporation/drying.

    [0011] This summary is provided to highlight certain significant inventive aspects but is not intended to be an exhaustive or limiting definition of all inventive aspects of the disclosure. Other inventive aspects may be disclosed in the detailed description and drawings.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0012] Further features and advantages of the present technology will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in combination with the appended drawings, in which:

    Figure 1 depicts the surface tension and pendant drop volume of the mixture of ethanol, ethylene glycol and glycerin as a function of time at 23 °C;

    Figure 2A depicts freshly printed lines of red ink (based on a mixture of ethanol, ethylene glycol, and glycerol) that have been inkjet-printed on PET (e.g. Melinex ST 505);

    Figure 2B depicts the lines after being thermally treated at 70 °C for 5 minutes;

    Figure 3 shows the contact angle of ethylene glycol and glycol mixture on uncrosslinked SU-8 for which the ratio of ethylene glycol to glycol is the same as that in the mixture used in Figure 1 and for which the SU-8 is a photoresist epoxy spin coated on PET film and soft backed only without the exposure to UV and hard baked for crosslinking;

    Figure 4A shows an optical microscope image of silver nano ink freshly printed on uncrosslinked SU-8;

    Figure 4B shows an optical microscope image of the silver nano ink on the uncrosslinked SU-8 after being thermally treated at 70 °C for 5 minutes;

    Figure 5A shows a cross-sectional scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of silver nano ink printed on uncrosslinked SU-8 having a shrunk line width of 15 µm in which the image was taken at a 45-degree tilt angle, so that the Y-axis should be divided by 0.7 for the height calibration;

    Figure 5B shows a cross-sectional scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of silver nano ink printed on uncrosslinked SU-8 having a shrunk line width of 5 µm in which the image was taken at a 45-degree tilt angle, so that the Y-axis should be divided by 0.7 for the height calibration;

    Figure 6 illustrates a draining mechanism to further shrink the line width in which the red area represents the ink-covered area and the arrows indicate the ink shrinkage direction; and

    Figure 7 depicts an optical microscope image of an ultranarrow silver line printed on SU-8/PET substrate using silver (Ag) nano ink; and

    Figure 8 schematically depicts an ultranarrow line printed by the present method.



    [0013] It will be noted that throughout the appended drawings, like features are identified by like reference numerals.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0014] Disclosed herein is a method of printing an ultranarrow line of a functional material such as an electrically conductive ink. The method entails, in general, steps, acts or operations of providing a substrate having an interlayer on the substrate and printing the ultranarrow line by depositing ink on the interlayer of the substrate, the ink comprising the functional material and a solvent mixture that partially dissolves the interlayer on the substrate, causing the ink to shrink and sink into the interlayer on the substrate thereby reducing a width of the line. The surface energy of the solvent mixture may change during evaporation/drying. In one embodiment, the functional material is an electrically conductive ink such as, for example, a silver nanoparticle ink. The functional material may be a conductor, semiconductor, dielectric, electroluminescent, photovoltaic, or any other electronic function. In one embodiment, the solvent is a mixture of ethanol, ethylene glycol and glycerol. In another embodiment, the solvent is a mixture of ethanol, ethylene glycol and glycerol, the substrate is polyethyleneterepthalate (PET) and the interlayer is SU-8 being composed of a fully epoxidized bisphenol-A/formaldehyde novolac co-polymer. The line width may be further narrowed by thermally treating the ink, interlayer and substrate after printing. For example, the ink, interlayer and substrate are thermally treated at 70°C for 5 minutes or thermally treated at 50°C then at 75°C.

    [0015] Further narrowing of the line may be achieved by draining ink longitudinally along the line by depositing larger areas of ink at each end of the line, the larger areas having a free energy lower than that of the line, thereby causing the ink to drain toward each of the larger areas during the shrinking process thus further reducing the width of the line.

    [0016] The present method can achieve a height-to-width ratio of the line of 0.11 or greater. Printing, e.g. performed using an inkjet printer, can achieve a line width below 10 µm. This is very useful for printing a gate of a transistor of a printable electronic device.

    [0017] In one embodiment, the method further entails controlling a surface tension of the ink while drying to remain less than a surface tension of the substrate upon which the ink is drying. The interaction between the selected ink and interlayer/substrate reduces the width of the printed line. In some cases, it achieves a reduction in width down to 1.5 to 3 µm. The ink increases its surface energy during the drying process, leading to reduced line width. The ink also contains solvents which can partially dissolve the selected interlayer/substrate, thereby causing the printed feature to sink or embed into the interlayer/substrate during the drying process, which helps to further reduce the line width.

    [0018] In embodiments of this method, the ink is selected so that the ink can wet well on the substrate and form stable line edges, and so that a de-wetting process for the deposited ink can then cause the width of the printed line to shrink on the substrate in a controlled fashion under the influence of the surface tension of the ink and the interaction between ink and interlayer/substrate, i.e. the localized, partial dissolving of the substrate/interlayer by the solvent in the ink. Therefore, in at least some embodiments, the combination of the selected ink solvent(s) and solubility of interlayer/substrate is critical in order to obtain an ultranarrow line width below 10 µm.

    [0019] The ink can change its wetting property on a substrate after it is deposited on the substrate. One example is to use a solvent mixture that contains a solvent with low surface tension and low boiling point. The mixture has a lower surface energy to wet a substrate initially but gradually lose its wettability as the volatile solvent evaporates and the ink surface energy increases. Figure 1 demonstrates the change of surface tension and pendant drop volume of a mixture of ethanol, ethylene glycol and glycerol with time. Table 1 lists the surface tension and boiling point of the some of the solvents that may be used in this method:
    SolventBoiling Point (°C)Surface Tension (mN/m, @ 20°C)
    Ethanol 78 22.1
    Ethylene glycol 173 47.7
    Glycerol 290 64.0


    [0020] When a red ink was formulated with the above solvent mixture and printed on a PET film, stable lines, around 79 µm wide, could be formed (as shown by way of example in Figure 2A). After the printed film was heated to 70°C for 5 minutes, however, the ink line width shrank to around 20 µm (as shown by way of example in Figure 2B). The ink had an initial surface tension of 37 mN/m, which was sufficiently smaller than that of PET (46 mN/m) to meet the wetting condition on PET, and thus could form stable lines on PET. The value was measured to be 43 mN/m after the ink partially lost its ethanol through evaporation. When there was no ethanol left in the ink, the ink had a surface tension of 48 mN/m. Clearly, the evaporation of ethanol from thermal treatment changed the wetting condition of the ink on PET and caused the lines to shrink.

    [0021] To print an electronic device, the ink must be able to form well-defined lines when printed on the selected substrate. This is to ensure that identical post-printing shrinkage can happen at the same time along each line edge. In other words, the shrunk lines should have substantially uniform width and no breakage lengthwise. When a pattern with more than two lines is printed, the condition ensures that the pattern could maintain its design after the width of the printed lines are shrunk. Note that bulged or discontinuous lines, or even aligned drops, will appear if de-wetting happens before stable lines are formed.

    [0022] The line shrinkage in the post-printing process is controlled at a desired rate along each line edge. This is also to ensure that the lines shrunk by this method have substantially uniform width and have no breakage along their entire length. When the shrinkage rate is not uniform along a line edge, the section that shrinks more slowly will have a larger area and thus lower free energy than the one that shrinks faster. As such, ink in the faster shrinking section would flow to the slower one, especially when the shrinkage rate is high, resulting in bulged or discontinuous lines. This uneven-rate-caused effect can be intensified when the shrinkage rate is high. This situation should be avoided.

    [0023] For solvent-evaporation-based shrinkage, its speed can be controlled through the speed of solvent evaporation and proper use of ink viscosity. Choosing a suitable post-printing process temperature is a simple and effective way. While a high temperature may lead to fast de-wetting and fast line shrinkage due to rapid solvent evaporation and low ink viscosity, the high ink viscosity at low temperature may limit the degree that the shrinkage can be proceed. The bulging and line breakage of red ink on PET as seen in Figure 2B can be avoided when the post-printing process temperature is reduced to 62°C. Also, if the printed lines are initially exposed to 50°C for a short period before being heated at 75°C, the bulging and breakage can be avoided and same level of shrinkage can be achieved. The reason is that ink viscosity is high and line shrinkage is slow at 50°C. When the solvent is mostly evaporated at 50°C, the ink viscosity is substantially increased and line shrinkage rate becomes moderate at 75°C. Indeed, solvent evaporation can be decoupled with viscosity effect in such a stepwise heating process to effectively control the line shrinkage speed.

    [0024] The ink solvent can slightly (or partially) dissolve a thin layer of interlayer/substrate. This localized dissolution of the interlayer/substrate by the ink solvent helps ink to spread on the substrate as shown in Figure 3. This may drag the line edges in opposite directions during shrinkage, and thus substantially reducing the chance for bulging and line breakage. Also, for solvents with high boiling points, which have high surface tension and do not evaporate much, the solvents recede with the line edges. The dissolution can therefore continue in the ink-covered area, sinking the ink into the substrate to a limited degree. This process also provides a mechanism for preventing bulging and line breakage.

    [0025] Long silver lines, 3 µm wide, were obtained by using the above discussed solvent-substrate dissolution process as shown in Figure 4. The lines were printed on uncrosslinked SU-8 coated PET as illustrated in Figure 3 by using a silver nano particle ink based on a solvent mixture, containing ethanol, ethylene glycol and glycol. The lines were 47 µm wide after being inkjet-printed on the substrate and shrank to 3 µm wide after an optimized thermal treatment at 70 °C for 5 minutes. Uniform lines of 3 µm wide and over a centimeter long can be repeatedly obtained using this method. These are the narrowest lines obtained by inkjet printing with a commercial print head having a 10 pl nozzle, without any pre-patterning step, such as ink-banks. 1.5 µm wide lines were achieved by using a diluted ink with a 1 pl print head. These are considered "ultranarrow" in the field of printing and printable electronics. For the purposes of this specification, the term "ultranarrow" means a line width of 10 µm or less. The same ink printed on crosslinked SU-8 cannot wet the surface properly because the surface energy of crosslinked SU-8 is lower than that of the ink. When printing on air plasma-treated crosslinked SU-8, the ink did not show the shrinking phenomenon because the surface energy of the treated surface is always greater than that of the ink even when its surface energy is increased due to the evaporation of volatile solvent. In addition, the ink cannot partially dissolve crosslinked SU-8 either. Therefore, a suitable combination of selected ink (containing suitable solvents) and the selected interlayer/substrate is important to achieve the effect.

    [0026] The ultranarrow lines obtained using the above method are characterized by a unique cross-sectional profile. Their height/width (H/W) ratios are very high because the narrow width is achieved by the reduction in line width and increase in line height. As the width of a line is shrunk by n times, the corresponding H/W ratio of the line is increased to n2 times the original ratio. The H/W ratio can reach 0.11 or greater when the line width is 17 µm or narrower. This ratio cannot be achieved by one layer printing using any scalable printing process, such as inkjet printing, flexo printing, gravure printing, and screen printing. Indeed, the combination of ultranarrow line width and high H/W ratio is the unique structural feature of the lines printed/processed with the above disclosed method.

    [0027] The H/W ratio can reach an extremely high value of 0.7 by dissolving the substrate using an ink solvent. A slight dissolution is favoured by the elevated temperature and continues in the area still covered by the ink. As such, the printed line gradually sinks into the substrate as it shrinks. This sinking or embedment process plays an additional and vital role in avoiding line bulging and breakage, even when a line substantially shrinks to become ultranarrow with an extremely high H/W ratio. Figure 5 shows a scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of the shrunken line. Here, the shrunken line is partially embedded into the SU-8 coating on PET film. The lines are very stable and strongly adhere to the substrate.

    [0028] Furthermore, even narrower lines, down to 0.45 µm, can be obtained by introducing a draining method. The draining method drains some ink from a line during its shrinkage. Draining is accomplished by placing low free-energy reservoirs at the end of each line as shown by way of example in Figure 6. In the printing process, more ink can be printed at the end of each line in various shapes, such as circle, oval, square, diamond, etc.. When a printed pattern is exposed to the post-printing treatment to shrink the printed feature, all its edges recede in the direction as indicated by the arrows. Simultaneously, part of the ink in the line is also drained to the area at its two ends, which have a free energy lower than the line due to the larger volume. This ink-draining process can cause the line to further shrink. In other words, this draining effect can further diminish the cross-sectional area of the line. The mechanism is superficially similar or analogous to the mechanical drawing of a thick solid wire to a thin one, but is intrinsically different as no external energy is required in the draining and the lines are not elongated.

    [0029] Silver lines, 0.45 µm wide and 100 µm long, can be obtained repeatedly using this method. The line length is limited by the fact that only a limited amount of ink can be drained from each end of a line. Nevertheless, the length is enough for the lines to be used in many applications such as printing transistors. Again, there is no pre-patterning step required and only one printing and one post printing process are involved in the method, making this technique very useful for the manufacturing of printable electronics.

    [0030] Figure 7 depicts an optical microscope image of an ultranarrow silver line printed on SU-8/PET substrate using silver (Ag) nano particle ink. A dog bone pattern was printed using a nano silver ink on uncrosslinked SU-8 and then exposed to 70 °C for 5 minutes. The "dog bone" pattern or "dumbbell pattern" can be any suitable pattern having larger areas of ink at each end of the line. Because the larger areas have a free energy lower than that of the line, the larger areas draw (drain) the ink from the line toward each of the larger areas thus further reducing the width of the line between the large areas.

    [0031] Even when combining the draining process with the line-shrinking technique, the key to control line shrinkage to avoid bulging and line breakage is to use a suitable interaction between the ink and the substrate. The selected ink with solvents can slightly dissolve the selected interlayer/substrate, so the constriction of the line (reduction of the printed line width) can be decreased below 10 µm from the initial width of over 30 µm. This results in the sunken or embedded profile depicted schematically in Figure 8. This figure shows a substrate 10 upon which a solvent-containing ink 12 is printed. The solvent partially dissolves the substrate to cause the ink to sink or embed into the substrate. Figure 8 shows the sunken portion 14 schematically. By locally and partially dissolving the substrate, the method can achieve ultranarrow line widths of 1.5 µm and 3 µm for Ag printed over a 10 mm length. A further reduction in line width down to a sub-micrometer level has been achieved by implementing the draining mechanism (using the dumbbell or dog bone pattern). A printed Ag line width of 0.45 µm with a length of 100 µm has been demonstrated using the combination of these two techniques. In one embodiment, the method further entails inactivating the surfactant to further reduce the width of the line. Inactivating the surfactant achieves de-wetting and thus line shrinkage. Any chemical that can cut a surfactant molecule to separate its hydrophilic section from hydrophobic section would work. Chemically, it is also possible to add a catalyst to the ink to degrade the surfactant under certain conditions, such as at elevated temperature or as the ink is exposed to light or other energy.

    [0032] It is to be understood that the singular forms "a", "an" and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to "a device" includes reference to one or more of such devices, i.e. that there is at least one device. The terms "comprising", "having", "including" and "containing" are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning "including, but not limited to,") unless otherwise noted. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of examples or exemplary language (e.g. "such as") is intended merely to better illustrate or describe embodiments of the invention and is not intended to limit the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed.

    [0033] The embodiments of the invention described above are intended to be exemplary only. As will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art, to whom this specification is addressed, many obvious variations, modifications, and refinements can be made to the embodiments presented herein without departing from the inventive concept(s) disclosed herein. The scope of the exclusive right sought by the applicant(s) is therefore intended to be limited solely by the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. A method of printing an ultranarrow line of a functional material, the method comprising:

    providing a substrate having an interlayer on the substrate; and

    printing the ultranarrow line by depositing ink on the interlayer of the substrate, the ink comprising the functional material and a solvent mixture that partially dissolves the interlayer on the substrate and causes the ink to shrink and sink into the interlayer on the substrate thereby reducing a width of the line, wherein a height-to-width ratio of the line is 0.7.


     
    2. The method of claim 1, wherein the functional material is electrically conductive.
     
    3. The method of claim 2, wherein the functional material comprises at least one silver nanoparticle.
     
    4. The method of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the solvent is a mixture of ethanol, ethylene glycol and glycerol.
     
    5. The method of claim 4, wherein the substrate is polyethyleneterepthalate (PET) and the interlayer is SU-8 being composed of a fully epoxidized bisphenol-A/formaldehyde novolac co-polymer.
     
    6. The method of any one of claims 1 to 5, further comprising thermally treating the ink, interlayer and substrate after printing.
     
    7. The method of claim 6, wherein the ink, interlayer and substrate is thermally treated at one temperature like 60-80°C for 5 minutes.
     
    8. The method of claim 6, wherein the ink, interlayer and substrate is thermally treated stepwisely like at 40-60°C initially and then at 75-90°C.
     
    9. The method of claim 6, wherein the ink, interlayer and substrate is thermally treated by slowly ramping from 40 to 90 °C.
     
    10. The method of any one of claims 1 to 9, further comprising draining ink longitudinally along the line by depositing larger areas of ink at each end of the line, the larger areas having a free energy lower than that of the line, thereby causing the ink to drain toward each of the larger areas thus further reducing the width of the line.
     
    11. The method of any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein printing is performed using an inkjet printer and the line width is below 10 µm.
     
    12. The method of any one of claims 1 to 10 wherein the line width is below 10 µm.
     
    13. The method of any one of claims 1 to 12, further comprising: monitoring a surface tension of the substrate upon which the ink is drying, controlling a surface tension of the ink to reduce that surface tension of the ink to less than a surface tension of the substrate upon which the ink is drying.
     
    14. The method of any one of claims 1 to 13 further comprising inactivating the surfactant to further reduce the width of the line.
     
    15. The method of any one of claims 1 to 14 wherein the solvent mixture has a surface energy that changes during evaporation/drying.
     
    16. Printing a gate of a transistor of a printable electronic device according to the method of any one of claims 1 to 15.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zum Drucken einer ultraschmalen Linie eines funktionalen Materials, wobei das Verfahren umfasst:

    Bereitstellen eines Substrats mit einer Zwischenschicht auf dem Substrat; und

    Drucken der ultraschmalen Linie durch Ablagerung von Tinte auf der Zwischenschicht des Substrats, wobei die Tinte das funktionale Material und ein Lösungsmittelgemisch, das die Zwischenschicht auf dem Substrat teilweise auflöst und die Tinte veranlasst, zu schrumpfen und in die Zwischenschicht auf dem Substrat zu sinken, dabei eine breite der Linie reduzierend, umfasst, wobei das Höhe-zu-Breite-Verhältnis der Linie 0,7 ist.


     
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei das funktionale Material elektrisch leitfähig ist.
     
    3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 2, wobei das funktionale Material mindestens ein Silbernanopartikel umfasst.
     
    4. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei das Lösungsmittel ein Gemisch von Ethanol, Ethylenglykol und Glycerol ist.
     
    5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 4, wobei das Substrat Polyethylenterphtalat (PET) ist und die Zwischenschicht SU-8 ist, bestehend aus einem vollständig epoxidierten Bisphenol-A/Formaldehyd-Novolak-Kopolymer.
     
    6. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, ferner umfassend thermisches Behandeln der Tinte, der Zwischenschicht und des Substrats nach dem Drucken.
     
    7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, wobei die Tinte, die Zwischenschicht und das Substrat bei einer Temperatur wie 60-80 °C für 5 Minuten thermisch behandelt werden.
     
    8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, wobei die Tinte, die Zwischenschicht und das Substrat schrittweise gleich bei anfänglich 40-60 °C und dann bei 75-90 °C thermisch behandelt werden.
     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, wobei die Tinte, die Zwischenschicht und das Substrat durch langsames Erhöhen von 40 auf 90 °C thermisch behandelt werden.
     
    10. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, ferner umfassend Ableiten von Tinte längs entlang der Linie durch Ablagerung größerer Bereiche von Tinte an jedem Ende der Linie, wobei die größeren Bereiche eine freie Energie aufweisen, die niedriger als jene der Linie ist, wodurch die Tinte veranlasst wird, in Richtung jedes der größeren Bereiche abzulaufen, auf diese Weise die Breite der Linie weiter reduzierend.
     
    11. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei Drucken unter Verwendung eines Tintenstrahldruckers ausgeführt wird und die Linienbreite unter 10 µm ist.
     
    12. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei die Linienbreite unter 10 µm ist.
     
    13. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12, ferner umfassend: Überwachen einer Oberflächenspannung des Substrats, auf dem die Tinte trocknet, Regeln einer Oberflächenspannung der Tinte, um diese Oberflächenspannung der Tinte auf weniger als eine Oberflächenspannung des Substrats, auf dem die Tinte trocknet, zu reduzieren.
     
    14. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 13, ferner umfassend ein Inaktivieren des oberflächenaktiven Stoffs, um die Breite der Linie weiter zu reduzieren.
     
    15. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 14, wobei das Lösungsmittelgemisch eine Oberflächenenergie aufweist, die sich während Verdampfen/Trocknen verändert.
     
    16. Drucken eines Gates eines Transistors einer druckbaren elektronischen Vorrichtung gemäß dem Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 15.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé d'impression d'une ligne ultra étroite d'un matériau fonctionnel, le procédé comprenant:

    la fourniture d'un substrat ayant une couche intermédiaire sur le substrat ; et

    l'impression de la ligne ultra étroite en déposant de l'encre sur la couche intermédiaire du substrat, l'encre comprenant le matériau fonctionnel et un mélange de solvant qui dissout partiellement la couche intermédiaire sur le substrat et fait en sorte que l'encre se rétracte et pénètre dans la couche intermédiaire sur le substrat en réduisant ainsi la largeur de la ligne, où un rapport hauteur sur largeur de la ligne est de 0,7.


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le matériau fonctionnel est électriquement conducteur.
     
    3. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le matériau fonctionnel comprend au moins une nanoparticule d'argent.
     
    4. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel le solvant est un mélange d'éthanol, d'éthylène glycol et de glycérol.
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 4, dans lequel le substrat est du poly éthylène téréphtalate (PET) et la couche intermédiaire est du SU-8 étant composé d'un copolymère de novolac bisphénol A/formaldéhyde totalement époxydé.
     
    6. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, comprenant en outre le traitement thermique de l'encre, de la couche intermédiaire et du substrat après l'impression.
     
    7. Procédé selon la revendication 6, dans lequel l'encre, la couche intermédiaire et le substrat sont traités thermiquement à une température telle que 60 à 80 °C pendant 5 minutes.
     
    8. Procédé selon la revendication 6, dans lequel l'encre, la couche intermédiaire et le substrat sont traités thermiquement par étapes initialement de 40 à 60 °C et ensuite de 75 à 90 °C.
     
    9. Procédé selon la revendication 6, dans lequel l'encre, la couche intermédiaire et le substrat sont traités thermiquement avec une pente douce de 40 à 90 °C.
     
    10. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, comprenant en outre un drainage de l'encre longitudinalement le long de la ligne en déposant des zones plus grandes d'encre à chaque extrémité de la ligne, les zones plus grandes ayant une énergie libre inférieure à celle de cette ligne faisant ainsi en sorte que l'encre est drainée vers chacune des zones plus grandes, réduisant ainsi encore la largeur de la ligne.
     
    11. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, dans lequel l'impression est effectuée en utilisant une imprimante à jet d'encre et la largeur de la ligne en-dessous de 10 µm.
     
    12. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, dans lequel la largeur de ligne est en-dessous de 10 µm.
     
    13. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12, comprenant en outre : I surveillance de la tension de surface du substrat sur lequel l'encre est en train de sécher, le contrôle d'une tension superficielle de l'encre pour réduire cette tension superficielle de l'encre à moins d'une tension de surface du substrat sur lequel l'encre est en train de sécher.
     
    14. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 13, comprenant en outre l'inactivation du tensioactif pour réduire encore la largeur de la ligne.
     
    15. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, dans lequel le mélange de solvants a une énergie de surface qui varie durant l'évaporation/le séchage.
     
    16. Impression d'une grille d'un transistor d'un dispositif électronique imprimable selon le procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 15.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description