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New DuPont MCM inks expand polymer options for printed electronics

DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM; Wilmington, DE) has developed new electronic inks that are designed to overcome the limitations of traditional printing of electronics on polymer substrates. The inks cure quickly at low temperatures, expanding the possibility of printing electronics onto an entirely new group of plastic films. The technology is expected to enable electronic components, such as sensors, heaters and antennas, to be printed on more-versatile and less-expensive substrates. The inks are now being tested and commercialized by manufacturers for new applications.

Clare Goldsberry

September 23, 2015

2 Min Read
New DuPont MCM inks expand polymer options for printed electronics

DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM; Wilmington, DE) has developed new electronic inks that are designed to overcome the limitations of traditional printing of electronics on polymer substrates. The inks cure quickly at low temperatures, expanding the possibility of printing electronics onto an entirely new group of plastic films. The technology is expected to enable electronic components, such as sensors, heaters and antennas, to be printed on more-versatile and less-expensive substrates. The inks are now being tested and commercialized by manufacturers for new applications.

DuPont MCMSteven Willoughby, Global Segment Manager for DuPont MCM, explained to PlasticsToday how the electronic inks provide new opportunities for product designers. "Typically, electronic inks were designed to cure at 100° to 140° C, which meant that substrate materials were restricted. Olefins can't survive those temperatures," he said. "At lower temperatures, the inks tended not to stick. Some developers have tried to produce lower temperature inks; however, at these lower temperatures, the inks dry on the screen, clogging it."

The new DuPont PE 827 and PE 828 low-temperature inks cure at temperatures as low as 60° C, opening up the possibility for printed electronics designers to use less-expensive plastic films. By expanding substrate choices, the possibility for implementing printed electronics in new applications continues to grow. Some of the applications could include printed antennas, sensor applications, heated surfaces and smart packaging applications, said DuPont's information.

Substrates that are now viable options for printed electronics include PVC, polystyrene, high-density polyethylene and acrylic polymers, among others. The inks also provide excellent print resolution—a 50 micron pitch, Willoughby noted.

"Customers have already qualified these materials, and we expect the first products using these new electronic inks will be coming out next year," said Willoughby. "These are commercial products, [and] customers [are] working with them at test sites to come up with even more creative and innovative applications for these inks."

The growing portfolio of DuPont MCM electronic inks are used in many applications, including forming conductive traces, capacitor and resistor elements, and dielectric and encapsulating layers that are compatible with many substrate surfaces including polymer, glass and ceramic.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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