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Industrial Inks and Pastes

    Electrically conductive inks and pastes, a $5.5B market opportunity, contain metal particles that are utilized in billions of commercial product components such as RFID tags, printed circuit boards, thin film solar cells, and magnetic shields. Nanoscale materials can play an integral role in improving key features in the above applications, including lower processing temperatures, decreased curing and sintering times, increased throughput and lower costs, improved line resolution, enhanced optical properties, and greater heat dissipation.

    Critical bottlenecks in the electronics and semiconductor industry include the inability to print metallic inks and pastes by inkjet printing. Utilization of inkjet printing would allow for more efficient manufacturing of components, and low temperature processing of the inks, which enables printing on a variety of thin and flexible plastic substrates. Commercial micron-sized metals are not inkjet printable, and require higher processing temperatures that limit the type of substrates that can be used.

    Due to their unique surface properties and reactivity, nano-sized metal particles are difficult to homogenize with many solvents and polymers. This resulting incompatibility can lead to reduced performance through separation, agglomeration or reactivity. Significant challenges exist in determining the appropriate solvents and polymers to uniformly distribute nanometal particles, selecting the proper mixing techniques, and developing the proper surface modification chemical processes to increase stability. Furthermore, each application requires a distinct set of properties which cannot be fulfilled by a single coating or dispersion chemistry.

    QSI is developing nanometal dispersion processes to formulate new conductive inks and pastes that are tailored for each customer application, and is actively working with recognized institutions and entities to validate increased performance. Large customers and partners are reaping the benefits of QSIÕs printable copper and silver conductive inks for flexible displays/signage and printed circuitry, as well as photoactive inks for CIGS solar cells. Specifically, QuantumSphere is developing a set of conductive inks and pastes which can enable superior:

    • Uniformity
    • Inkjet Printability
    • Low Sintering Temperatures
    • Stability and Durability
    • Optical Properties

    QSI has recently ramped up its patented, automated, and environmentally friendly manufacturing process, and is currently able to produce high quality nano metals and alloys in quantities necessary for large-scale industrial manufacturing. The company is poised to enable next generation printable electronics, thin film solar cells, and other devices through improved performance of the advanced materials used to create them. This in turn will benefit consumers across the board.