Copper nano-particles resistant oxidation for 3D printing
The main challenge in developing nano-copper ink, according to the firm, is oxidation of the particles, including oxidation during the sintering required to convert them into a continuous conductive trace. Typically, sintering copper particles requires high temperatures, lasers or powerful lamps – in an oxygen-free atmosphere to protect the copper.
“The stable nanoparticles are arranged together to form a cluster, or floc, of nano-particles,” Nano Dimension told Electronics Weekly. “The packing is unique – the inner nano-particles, that are in the core of the structure, are protected by the outer nano-particles that are in the shell of the structure. This structure provides further resistance to oxidation, which is needed during the sintering process.”
What it will not reveal is the exact nature of the nano-particles, nor any differences between the core and shell nano-particles.
According to Nano Dimension, the particles have the potential to be used in ink-jet printing, and may open the door to printing on flexible films like polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which can withstand temperatures of up to 150°C for radio frequency identification antennas, membrane switches and sensors.
Nano Dimension makes 3D printers that can print PCBs including insulating and conductive parts.