NovaCentrix is a privately-held company in the United States with notable accomplishments in the area of wiring technology, which constitutes an essential part of the printed electronics technology. In printed electronics, conductive wiring is formed through printing with metallic-particles-containing inks (conductive inks), and sintering of those metallic particles with heat treatment. Because of the necessity of heat treatment, it is generally considered that application of printed electronics to plastic substrates is difficult.
However, NovaCentrix's proprietary technology involves high-speed sintering with visible-light flash lamps, restricting the rise in temperature and enabling the use of plastic substrates. Furthermore, the system uses films as plastic substrates, enabling production with the efficient roll-to-roll process.
SDK will fully utilize its metal, inorganic and organic material technologies in its joint development, aiming to develop conductive inks optimized for NovaCentrix's Photonic Curing system. SDK will aim to improve the performance of existing conductive inks, thereby achieving durability and conductivity equal to those of conventional copper foils and other bulk products.
Conductive inks are now used in some of the components for smart phones and solar cells. While its market is estimated at JPY 30 billion at present, the market is expected to grow to JPY 100 billion by 2020. With the tie-up with NovaCentrix, SDK will accelerate R&D for the growing printed electronics market.