The printed electronics industry is growing as companies adapt to additive manufacturing processes. However, to date, the high cost of materials, such as silver used in inks for the conductive traces, has limited the widespread use of printed electronics. A switch to a more cost effective ink and paste materials, such as copper, could be the catalyst for industry growth. These two patents are related to Applied Nanotech’s copper inks that have the potential to replace existing silver inks that are commonplace in the marketplace.
U.S. Patent No. 8,404,160, with an issuance date of March 26, 2013, claims the composition of its award winning copper nanoinks without the utilization of a binder material. The exclusion of a binder material from the formulation of the copper nanoink tolerates improved drying and photosintering mechanisms that result in higher electrical conductivity and stability of copper traces. U.S. Patent No. 8,404,160 is assigned to both Applied Nanotech and Ishihara Chemical Co., LTD., a licensee of Applied Nanotech.
U.S. Patent No. 8,422,197 with an issuance date of April 16, 2013 claims the utilization of optical energy (independent of wave length) to achieve sintered layers of fused nanoparticle materials with predetermined degree of porosity. This method claims at least its utilization for one layer of copper nanoparticles, as well as one layer of silicon nanoparticles and combinations thereof. U.S. Patent No. 8,422,197 is controlled solely by Applied Nanotech and is expected to open new licensing and business opportunities in the near future.
“The issuance of U.S. Patent 8,404,160 is very important to us because it is the first of the series of patents filed in relation to our work for copper nanoparticle inks with Ishihara Chemical Co., LTD and offers the necessary IP protection for both companies,” said Dr. Zvi Yaniv, CEO of APNT subsidiary, Applied Nanotech, Inc. “I am even more excited about U.S. Patent No. 8,422,197 that claims, in a simple format, the utilization of optical energy for achieving sintered layers of nanoparticles, such as copper and silicon, that can be then be utilized directly in many applications and can facilitate the digital printing of silicon-based passive and active devices.”
Although the utilization of optical energy to achieve sintering of nanoparticle-based materials has been gaining market penetration lately, in many instances low temperature thermal sintering is necessary, and even required. At the Printed Electronics 2013 Conference in Berlin, Applied Nanotech will introduce a novel formulation of copper nanoink suitable for thermal sintering at temperatures of 250°C and lower.
“This new formulation will be able to compete with, and replace, silver inks that currently are exclusively used in the offset printing industry,” said Dr. James Novak, director of the Nanoelectronics and Thermal Management Division of Applied Nanotech.