Investigation of the effects of process parameters on performance of gravure printed ITO on flexible substrates
Neff, Joel Emerson
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Gravure printing is a conventional printing process used for printing graphics on products ranging from magazines and packaging to wallpaper and floor coverings. It is a versatile process that can be used to deposit a variety of fluid materials onto many different surfaces. It is also capable of very high speed deposition, with speeds up to 60 m/min being reported. Because of its versatility and high throughput capability, gravure is an attractive platform for the manufacture of devices composed of relatively thin layers of functional, electronic materials deposited onto flexible substrates. In many cases, these materials can be deposited in liquid form, in which case gravure printing can potentially be used. One such material that is commonly used is Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), a transparent, conducting ceramic material. It is commonly deposited onto flexible, transparent polyethylene terapthalate (PET) films that can be used in flexible displays, solar cells, and other devices requiring a transparent, conducting layer. This thesis examines the effect of key process parameters on the physical and functional characteristics of a printed ITO nanoparticle layer. ITO layers were successfully printed that were between 300 and 1300 nm thick, with roughness Ra generally less than a few hundred nm. The sheet resistance values were relatively high, in the hundreds of kohms/square. The transparency was relatively low, although the films were generally transparent. Several parameters were found to be significant in affecting the several different physical and performance measures, specifically solvent and ITO content, as well as cell geometry.