Ultra-Thin and Highly Precise: High Tech in the Micrometer Range
Ultra-Thin and Highly Precise:
High Tech in the Micrometer Range
The SI symbol μm stands for micrometer, also known as a micron, which is one millionth of a meter or one thousandth of a millimeter. That is very, very small. In exactly that micro range the Schreiner PrinTronics competence center tested the technological limits of fine-line precision printing for electronics in film (EIF)—with a highly successful outcome.
In 2021, conductive trace widths of up to 60 μm were already achieved. Just for comparison, that roughly equates to the diameter of a human hair. Yet the experts in printed electronics were not willing to settle for that. Inspired by a customer inquiry, they recently tested the feasibility of silver conductive trace widths down to 30 μm!
The challenge posed by EIF lies in the incredibly high precision it requires. “Unless the ultra-thin printed structure is closed one hundred percent, there is no electrical conductivity. Consequently, defect-free printing of conductive traces of Ultra-Thin and Highly Precise: High Tech in the Micrometer Range this micro size makes maximum demands on optimum coordination of the selected materials as well as on the entire printing process,” explains Johannes Becker, head of the Schreiner PrinTronics competence center.
The challenge with EIF lies in its incredibly high precision.
With a very sensitive touch and plenty of fine-tuning the Schreiner team optimized the various influencing factors such as the silver paste, the screen type, and the coating, and precisely coordinated all the components. The fine-tuning work of the development team was rewarded with success: the objective of printing reproducible conductive traces with a width of 30 μm and gaps of 30 μm between them was achieved!
As a result of having cut the width of conductive traces in half, Schreiner Group can now also offer products that, due to their severely limited application area, require barely visible conductive traces or very fine conductive traces as a safety function.
The valuable findings about the possibilities and limits of fine-line screen printing that the team from the Schreiner PrinTronics competence center has gained from its work are no doubt priceless—and motivation to pursue another reduction in the next project.