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You are here: Home > Technique > Processes > Scientific report of the LGP2 > Printing processes > New applications of printing technologies           Update: March 21th 2007
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Researchers of the LGP2 (EFPG, INPG, CNRS, CTP)
(November 2006)
Documents taken from the
"Scientific Report of the Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Science and Graphic Arts - UMR 5518
Grenoble - France
January 2002-November 2005"

IV - Printing processes

IV - 4 - New applications of printing technologies

Éliane Rousset, Anne Blayo, Robert Catusse, Mathieu Fénoll, Laurent Durville

Printing techniques adequately adapted have been used in the microelectronics for years. Most of the time, inks, substrates and printing processes, such as ink jet and screen printing, are already efficient in this field. The main purpose of our studies is to find the optimal working conditions between these three parts of the whole product process. It is thus necessary to go beyond the present technical limits of the conventional processes, in order to transfer properly inks with new functionalities (conductive inks, for instance). However, the substrate properties, which play a determinant role, must be thoroughly studied. The surface properties ensure the wetting and the adhesion of the functional ink. In the case of absorbing substrates, a fine analysis of the structural properties is mandatory.

The objective of one PhD thesis in our group is to prepare electronic micro-components, with industrial printing techniques, such as offset, gravure or flexography. Different patterns are printed on flexible substrates, such as polymers or papers. These substrates may receive a surface treatment beforehand, in order to increase their surface energy. Conductive inks, based on metallic particles or on conductive polymers, are formulated in water- or solvent-based vehicles. They must be safe and possess the required physico-chemical properties with respect to the printing process.

From our point of view, the present industrial tendencies suggest that a tremendous development of these applications is expected in the near future, especially in the context of RFID label printing. The aim is to find methods of manufacturing such labels at low cost. Printing processes (offset, flexography, gravure, screen printing and ink jet) are liable to fulfil the requirements of such production, namely in terms of accuracy of position, control of the thickness of the deposited functional ink, resolution, and the electrical performances of the functional inks or transferred polymer.

In other contexts, the know-how of the printer can be used for different technologies. For example, another PhD thesis (CIFRE contract), inspired from the knowledge of offset plate preparation, is now starting in our research team. The idea is to develop new masking technique in order to prepare a metallic piece for a further electrolytic treatment. The masks tested could be special resins and the combinations between the resin and the metallic substrate as well as that between the resin and laser beam must be optimised. For this reason, photosensitive or thermal resins, very similar to those used in offset plates, will be utilised as masking material. Then, a laser will ensure the selectivity either by direct gravure, or by sensitization followed by a chemical development.

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