Date Published:APR, 2011
At present there is no metallic ink that enables formation of conductive patterns at room temperature by a single printing step. Printing conductive features by metallic nanoparticle-based inks must be followed by sintering while heating to elevated temperatures, thus preventing their utilization on most plastic substrates used in plastic electronics. In this report we present a new silver nanoparticle-based conductive ink, having a built-in sintering mechanism, which is triggered during drying of the printed pattern. The nanoparticles that are stabilized by a polymer undergo self-sintering spontaneously, due to the presence of a destabilizing agent, which comes into action only during drying of the printed pattern. The destabilizing-agent, which contains Cl- ions, causes detachment of the anchoring groups' of the stabilizer from the nanoparticles surface and thus enables their coalescence and sintering. It was found that the new metallic ink leads to very high conductivities, by a single printing step: up to 41% of the conductivity of bulk silver was achieved, the highest reported conductivity of a printed pattern that is obtained from nanoparticles at room temperature.