*NEWS*IJ PRINTER TO SIMPLIFY ELEC CIRCUIT

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*NEWS*IJ PRINTER TO SIMPLIFY ELEC CIRCUIT

 user 2005-11-10 at 12:04:00 pm Views: 58
  • #14567

    Ink Jet Printer Could Simplify Electronic Circuit Manufacturing
    Tabletop printer could be used in making of flexible displays and RFID tags
    Using
    a table-top-sized printer, product developers may now be able to build
    printed circuit boards for devices ranging from cell phone displays to
    RFID antennae to solar cells.
    The new technique, developed by Santa
    Clara-based Dimatix, Inc, builds circuits a drop at a time by using a
    piezoelectric print head to dispense liquid silver, nickel, gold or a
    variety of semiconductor materials onto an electronic substrate.
    Because it eliminates masking and etching from the traditional
    electronic manufacturing process and replaces those steps with simple
    deposition procedure, Dimatix executives say it could enable design
    engineers to dramatically cut costs on certain projects.
    “If every
    circuit you make is different, or if you have a very complicated
    circuit that causes masking to be expensive, then this ink jet method
    is a viable way to build your circuits,” notes Martin Schoeppler, vice
    president of corporate strategic business development for Dimatix.
    “Here, there is no etching and no ‘subtraction’ steps.”
    The key to
    the new process is Dimatix’s creation of the ink jet printer, known as
    the DMP-2800, which deposits the nano-droplets onto an electronic
    substrate. The printer also uses a MEMS-based cartridge developed by
    Dimatix. In the past, ink jet printers could not have been used for
    such depositions because the heat from a conventional ink jet unit
    would have destroyed metals or organic materials. Dimatix engineers
    solved that problem by re-engineering ink jet print heads to use
    specialized nozzles, pumping chambers and acoustic wave membranes.
    Ultimately,
    the company’s executives hope that their new process will be usable in
    complicated electronics projects that require numerous masking steps,
    or in situations where construction of prototype printed circuit boards
    are called for. In both cases, designers could save money by
    eliminating the need for expensive photomasks.
    The company is eyeing
    a variety of applications, including solar cells, keyboards,
    light-emitting surfaces, smart cards, ID tags, RFID components, and
    flexible displays for laptops, cell phones, and handheld games.
    “Display
    companies have publicly announced that they are counting on ink jet
    technology to replace their current manufacturing methods because it
    lowers their costs and gives them better precision,” Schoeppler says.
    Schoeppler
    says that universities, laboratories, and start-up companies working on
    application of nano-materials are also potential users of the
    technology, along with firms that are working toward the Holy Grail of
    the one-cent RFID ta
    g.