University of Oulu

Gravure-offset printing in the manufacture of ultra-fine-line thick-films for electronics

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Author: Pudas, Marko1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Microelectronics Laboratory
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 12.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2004
Publish Date: 2004-03-27
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Raahensali (Auditorium L10), Linnanmaa, on March 27th, 2004, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Professor Leszek Golonka
Doctor Aulis Tuominen


In gravure offset printing, ink is transferred with the help of an offset material from a patterned gravure plate to a substrate. This thesis is concerned with the study and further development of this printing process for electronics; on alumina, glass and polymers.

The work has been divided into five parts. In the first section, the printing process is described. The second section describes the composition of the inks for gravure offset printing and the resulting ink properties. It also presents the ink transfer mechanism; the model that explains how the ink is transferred between an offset material and a substrate. The third chapter details the printing process explained by a solvent absorption mechanism. The forth chapter describes the firing/curing of printed samples and their properties. The last chapter describes applications of the method.

The inks used to produce conductors on ceramics (ceramic inks) and conductors on polymers (polymer inks) contain silver particles, and were under development for gravure offset printing. The major achieved properties were the high ink pickup to the offset blanket and high transfer percentage to the substrate. 100% ink transfer from blanket to substrate for ceramic inks and almost 100% ink transfer for polymer inks was obtained. The printing of ceramic inks was able to produce 8 μm of relatively thick, 300 μm wide lines with < 10 mΩ/sq. resistance. The minimum line width for conducting lines was 35 μm, with one printing. Multi printing was applied producing as many as 10 times wet-on-wet multiprinted lines with 100 % ink transfer from blanket to substrate resulting in a square resistance of 1mΩ/sq. Polymer inks were able produce a square resistance of 20 mΩ/sq. for 300 μm wide lines after curing at 140 °C for about 15 min, and the minimum width was down to 70 μm.

In the optimised manufacturing process, the delay time on the blanket was reduced to 3 s. In addition to ultra-fine-line manufacturing of conductors, the method enables the manufacture of special structures e.g. laser-solder contact pads with 28/28 μm lines/spaces resolution. With industrial printing equipment it is possible to produce 100 m2/h with the demonstrated printing properties.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. C, Technica
ISSN-E: 1796-2226
ISBN: 951-42-7303-6
ISBN Print: 951-42-7302-8
Issue: 201
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2004. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.