Most formulations of metal inks comprise of a suspension of nanoparticles however, these suffer when printed by the formation of unwanted agglomeration. The exploration and optimisation of particle-free silver-complex ink is causing a strong demand for inkjet printing of these formulations over nanoparticle-based suspension inks. This is due to the enhanced printability and rapid conversion via thermal reduction into a conductive material, which can be utilised in electronics manufacture. We developed a silver-complex ink for ‘smart-clothing’ through inkjet printing. The high-quality printing - characterised by no satellite droplet formation and fast speed - is demonstrated upon polyester fabric by the formation of electrical circuitry using a thermal reduction process. Fabric printing is limited by good metal coverage and adhesion, which we demonstrate and improve on in the work by the application of a low temperature, atmospheric air plasma pre-treatment to the polyester surface, which improves printed silver density and coverage using a plasma device which is easy to operate and economic. Printed silver layer reduction and film crystallinity is characterised from high resolution scanning electron microscopy, and spectroscopy (Ultraviolet-visible and Raman) detailing growth mechanisms for high track feature conductivity, producing a low sheet resistivity of 1.378 ± 0.001 Ω/□ and by the lighting of a 1.9 V, 250 mA Light Emitting Device, highlighting its application for conductive features processing.
- Particle free