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Abstract

Inkjet printing is viewed as a versatile manufacturing tool for applications in materials fabrication in addition to its traditional role in graphics output and marking. The unifying feature in all these applications is the dispensing and precise positioning of very small volumes of fluid (1–100 picoliters) on a substrate before transformation to a solid. The application of inkjet printing to the fabrication of structures for structural or functional materials applications requires an understanding as to how the physical processes that operate during inkjet printing interact with the properties of the fluid precursors used. Here we review the current state of understanding of the mechanisms of drop formation and how this defines the fluid properties that are required for a given liquid to be printable. The interactions between individual drops and the substrate as well as between adjacent drops are important in defining the resolution and accuracy of printed objects. Pattern resolution is limited by the extent to which a liquid drop spreads on a substrate and how spreading changes with the overlap of adjacent drops to form continuous features. There are clearly defined upper and lower bounds to the width of a printed continuous line, which can be defined in terms of materials and process variables. Finer-resolution features can be achieved through appropriate patterning and structuring of the substrate prior to printing, which is essential if polymeric semiconducting devices are to be fabricated. Low advancing and receding contact angles promote printed line stability but are also more prone to solute segregation or “coffee staining” on drying.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-matsci-070909-104502
2010-08-04
2024-04-19
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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