American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Investigating Sintering Mechanisms for Additive Manufacturing of Conductive Traces

Jasmine McKenzie and Salil Desai

DOI : 10.3844/ajeassp.2018.652.662

American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Volume 11, Issue 2

Pages 652-662


Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes enable the fabrication of miniaturized and flexible devices on complex geometries. This paper explores a hybrid additive manufacturing technology that integrates micro-extrusion and PICO-jetting methods. Conductive slurries and colloidal inks were optimized for their rheological properties to aid their precise deposition. A variety of conductive materials which include carbon, silver, nano-particle silver and nickel were deposited on both rigid (glass) and flexible (Kapton) substrates. The deposited traces were cured using two sintering mechanisms which include furnace heating and in situ laser irradiation. The effect of curing mechanism on the conductance of deposited traces was evaluated. The results indicated that traces could be cured successfully with the laser curing mechanism. Nickel and silver laser cured traces had lower resistivity than the furnace sintered traces. An increase in the laser power resulted in lower resistivity of the traces. The lowest resistivity was achieved at 40W laser power with a single laser pass. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy were used to characterize the trace morphology and elemental compositions. Higher power laser curing resulted in better bonding of the particles. Laser cured samples had minimal oxidation to the cross-section region of the traces as compared to furnace cured samples. This research lays the foundation for the fabrication of electronic components for a high level of freeform 3D electronics using a hybrid additive manufacturing technology.


© 2018 Jasmine McKenzie and Salil Desai. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.