Late fall in Austin is beautiful. Temperatures are in the mid-70s and it’s relatively dry – making it a great time to be outdoors. Combine the weather with Texans love for barbecuing and grilling, and eating outside with friends becomes a daily activity.
As a team, we love to highlight and share the work we see being done by researchers using NovaCentrix equipment and materials. While we regularly do this internally, my hope in sharing and writing about this recently published work for a broader audience is that it helps spread some interest in new tech, as well as bring attention to these great results. Researchers at the Army Research Laboratory and Duke University have shown that PulseForge curing can dramatically improve the electrical performance of 3D printed conductive filament composite materials.
3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has seen commercial efforts over several decades with a quick rise in interest over the past several years. A Gartner analysis from 2019 showed a 300% growth in enterprise 3D printer manufacturers over the preceding 3 years. Aerospace and medical device industries were among the first to create real value by using additive manufactur
ing to reduce weight and consolidate the assembly of components. Their success has paved the way for many other industries to evaluate new 3D printing techniques for their own processes.
Photonic curing is the high temperature processing of thin films using a flashlamp. When this processing is performed on a low temperature substrate, such as plastic or paper, a significantly higher temperature can be attained in the film versus an oven without damaging the substrate. This is due to two effects: 1) thermal processes exponentially progress with increasing temperature and 2 ) thermal damage to a polymer substrate generally takes a finite amount of time. Within a range, the shorter the time, the higher the temperature a material can take without damage. In the case of a polymer or paper
substrate, the ultimate temperature one can reach is right below its gasification temperature. The result is that an intense pulse of light can process a thin absorbing film on a low temperature substrate in only a few hundred microseconds as effectively or better than 10 minutes in an oven. As the substrate generally absorbs less of the light energy from the flashlamp than the targeted film, the film can be selectively printed and only the film is heated. That is, photonic curing is an automatically registering curing process. Consequently, even though photonic curing is very high in power, it is fundamentally a low energy process. Over the past 15 years, photonic curing has progressed far beyond the laboratory sintering of metal traces on plastic and paper and is now extensively used in many processes in the high-volume manufacturing (HVM) of consumer electronics.
Perovskites are a group of organometallic/all-inorganic halides with chemical formula ABX3 in perovskite crystal structure1. Considered as a next-generation photovoltaic (PV) material, they combine strong light absorption with superior carrier transport2 and tunable bandgaps3.
An introduction to a new application from NovaCentrix with guiding questions for collaborators and customers...
NovaCentrix continues to bring new technologies to the printed electronics market to enable new structures and patterns that were previously considered unfeasible, too costly or impossible to manufacture. In this blog post we introduce the reader to PulseForge® Printing, a novel new way for contactless printing of a wide range of materials. This technology uses the capabilities developed in the PulseForge light source to instantaneously heat an ink loaded in a patterned plate. On heating, the ink is ejected from the plate and onto a target substrate – transferring the pattern. Our patterned plate gives the printer the ability to make very high resolution (< 25 µm), high aspect ratio (~ 1 for a single print), and multi-height prints out of a wide range of materials. Our PulseForge tool set gives the process high throughput, high duty cycle, repeatability, and uniformity. Common initial questions are outlined in this post with our answers to initiate a discussion around what this technology is capable of. Please connect with our team to learn more and engage on specific projects that could benefit from the capabilities of our new PulseForge Printing application.
PulseForge Lift-Off: A Flashlamp Lift-Off Process
- What is PulseForge® Lift-Off (PFLO)? How is it used in industry?
PulseForge Lift-Off (PFLO) is a flashlamp based lift-off process developed by NovaCentrix to address the industrial need to rapidly and economically release polymeric films from rigid glass carriers. Developed as a laser lift-off (LLO) alternative, some of the advantages of PFLO include: (1) Enabling higher throughput by large-area illumination of the substrates as opposed to highly localized illumination in LLO process. (2) Light absorber on glass carrier increases process reliability and yield by ensuring no direct illumination of the polymeric film and the device stack. (3) Resiliency to pinholes and particle defects on the polymeric film coating as the film does not see any illumination.
Some industries that use PFLO are flexible display manufacturing, flexible sensors and batteries manufacturing, thin silicon wafer debonding in multi-layered 3D chip packages, and in other light-weight electronics packaging applications.
When I write about printed electronics, I tend to focus on the “electronics” a lot more than the “printed.” For this blog entry, I’m going to try to do just the opposite.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the need for general-purpose antiviral materials has never been more relevant. Metallic nanoparticles, and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in particular, have received considerable attention through efforts to meet this need. But what is it that makes AgNPs effective against viruses? How has this effectiveness been measured and quantified? And how can AgNPs be incorporated into products and treatments effectively? Answers to these questions provided by the scientific community are invaluable for separating the facts from the hype.
How Does the Photonic Curing Process Work?
Light energy incident on a body will be absorbed and heat up the object. The light-matter interaction determines what fraction of light is reflected back, transmitted through or absorbed by the body. The fraction of light absorbed can be guessed by the color of the body (darker material absorbs more light). Light that is absorbed by the body is mostly converted to heat and shows up as an increase in its temperature. That’s why wearing a black shirt in the middle of a Texas summer isn’t the most comfortable thing to do.