Electroninks: Particle-Free Conductive Inks
Exhibitor: ELECTRONINKS INC.
Booth No.: L331
Electroninks: Particle-Free Conductive Inks
Fueling innovation in product development and providing greater flexibility in manufacturing
As the world of electronics continues to change shape - literally - and products become wearable, flexible, foldable and capable of processing data at the same time, the demand for the advanced metallization and circuitry making it all possible has hit a tipping point, creating a need for new solutions. One of the most fundamental components and an emerging lever for innovation in additive manufacturing is conductive inks.
Due to issues such as long-term reliability, settling and instability during printing, traditional metal particle inks, like silver, are not suitable for digital high volume manufacturing (HVM) and 3D metallization. Electroninks is addressing these technology issues by developing the first and only true HVM particle-free metal complex ink on the market.
Particle-free silver inks can withstand high humidity conditions and can be used for a variety of applications. Silver is also one of the most widely used conductive metals due to its high conductivity. And while silver can be expensive and suffers from reliability and migrations issues, Electroninks particle-free approach makes its inks more affordable and reliable.
Aligning with its mission to fundamentally change the way its customers develop new hardware technologies and improve manufacturing processes, Electroninks first developed silver inks. The founding technology for Electroninks was Inspired by chemistry of the metal precursors used in semiconductor processes such as CVD and ALD, and the drive to truly find new types of conductive inks as opposed to the same nanoparticle and metal flake dispersions that has been slightly upgraded over the past 40 years.
Electroninks, now a leader in particle-free conductive metal inks and advanced materials, started with the philosophy that pure metallic films are the optimal way to increase performance and reliability while reducing overall cost of manufacturing and ownership.
The Need for Silver
While Electroninks first developed silver inks due to all these noted attributes, including it is high conductivity, the cost of silver inks continues to rise. Consequently, there is a strong movement to reduce the use of such expensive materials or replace them entirely. But the industry has been struggling to provide a solution at par with silver’s capabilities. Bloomberg recently reported that demand for materials like silver, copper, lithium, and other rare earth materials is on the rise given that they are critical for emerging cleantech/clean energy infrastructure like batteries, solar panels and EV chargers, for example.
Electroninks, however, is delivering a more cost-effective and efficient use of many of the noble metals through its particle-free ink formulations. Its particle-free silver ink delivers higher conductivity, flexibility and cost-effectiveness making them ideal for today's smaller, lighter, more highly functional electronic products. The company is the first to provide particle-free conductive inks in silver, gold, platinum, palladium, silver alloys, nickel and copper. Through strategic partnerships forged with Applied Materials, FujiFilm and Merck KGaA, Electroninks can meet customer demands for quality, manufacturing stability and scale, performance, and device reliability.
The Particle-Free Difference
One of the most fundamental components and an emerging lever for innovation in additive manufacturing is conductive inks. Metallization is the cornerstone for manufacturing and operating nearly all electronic devices, from solar panels to TFTs. Sputter, CVD/ALD, plating and LDS are one of many ways to approach conventional metallization.
However, metallization is complex and requires a cooperative approach with materials chemistry, surface science and equipment expertise. Conventional metallization, or conventional inks that contain nanoparticles, have many limitations including temperature limitations, the potential for high toxicity and the end to require patterning or etching. Nanoparticle inks also have a lower high volume manufacturing (HVM) rate, high utility/tooling costs and limits on implementation. Due to electromigration at relatively high temperatures and humidity conditions, silver inks cannot be used for all applications.
Particle-free inks can withstand high temperatures and humidity. They are compatible with stretchable substrates and textiles, highly reflective, RoHS compliant, catalytically active, and antimicrobial. . They also have a higher shelf-life than nano-particle solutions because traditional binders and surfactants are not used in Electroninks' metallo-organic inks. This also allows customers and integrators to utilize multi-hour printing to produce products showcasing extreme detail They also are free of impurities – approaching 99.99% metal, providing superior environmental stability and reliability.
Electroninks’ particle-free inks . And the company is the only one to deliver this type of performance from gold and platinum. Their inks can achieve conductivities up to 90% of bulk silver with low annealing temperatures for flexible and stretchable substrates. Electroninks has the only true HVM particle-free metal complex ink on the market that enables performance, pricing and various applications for conductive inks. They are a direct replacement for nanoparticle inks, metal paste and sputtered or deposited metals.
The Future of Advanced Materials
The company’s portfolio of products based on its proprietary particle-free conductive metal inks provides cost-effective, highly stable and reliable solutions for applications in semiconductor packaging, consumer electronics, and medical devices. The company's novel formulations are ideal for the design and manufacturing of today's smaller, lighter, more highly functional electronic products as well as agile manufacturing and rapid maintenance needs.
Electroninks has forged strategic partnerships with Applied Materials, Merck, FujiFilm, the DoD and numerous Tier 1 equipment and supply chain partners that allow the company to focus on innovation, while still meeting customers’ demands for quality, reliability and scale. To date, Electroninks has raised Series A and B funding from firms known for material science development and defense integration including Applied Materials, InQTel, Band Gap Ventures, ITIC, and M-Ventures.
Recently, Electroninks received nearly $1.5M in a contract from the Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) to develop advanced manufacturing hardware and particle-free conductive inks for printed circuit boards.
The Air Force will use Electroninks’ advanced manufacturing hardware and particle-free conductive inks both at home and in rapid and austere (remote) environments to provide an agile manufacturing solution for printed circuit boards (PCBs) on demand and at the point of use. The solution better enables the Air Force to reduce waste and extend the lifespans of aircraft and other systems -- all while driving down costs and increasing mission readiness.
Electroninks particle-free inks provide versatile, low-cost, domestically produced, all-in-one additive manufacturing solutions. Electroninks CircuitJet I and Circuit Jet II printers can print PCBs on demand and with a 90 percent reduction in the cost of metal inks.
Electroninks not only offers products like CircuitJet to their customers but has created a distinguished range of products for every need: from the classroom to the US DOD.
These products allow for the deposition of Electroninks particle-free inks and for the proprietary application of the inks for many situations.
As previously mentioned, the CircuitJet is an inkjet printer for printing circuit boards (PCBs). Electroninks CircuitJet I and Circuit Jet II printers can print PCBs on demand with substantial cost savings. CircuitJet uses inkjet technology to additive manufacture PCBs at the users desktop to print on-demand. This will enable rapid prototyping, drastically decrease logistics costs and the materials used are non-toxic; cartridges can be recycled via traditional desktop cartridge recycling centers.
Perhaps the most well-known product on the Electroninks roster is CircuitScribe. In 2013, Electroninks launched a line of educational kits designed to help kids learn about electronics, hands on. CircuitScribe includes a silver ink pen that enables users to draw connections between electronic modules. The pen and kits are used by schools and are a well-known name in the worlds of STEM, Maker Faires, project based learning and educational toys.
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