Optomec to Develop Printing System for Displays, Electronics
Optomec of Albuquerque, N.M., announced today that it has received a one-year, $750,000 contract from the US Display Consortium (USDC) to further develop its M3D aerosol-jet printing system, currently used in solar cells, embedded sensors and life science devices, for flexible displays and electronics. The M3D can print electronic or biologic materials as small as 10 µm and as thin as 5 nm, depositing nanoparticle inks, screen-printing pastes, conductive polymers, insulators, adhesives or biological matter onto a range of planar and nonplanar substrates for applications including fuel cells, molded interconnected devices and high-throughput screening. Under the agreement, Optomec will develop a printing platform for next-generation devices, such as high-density circuitry for printable electronics, displays, and photovoltaic cells. The new system will use a multinozzle aerosol-jet deposition that eliminates the need for screens or stencils required by traditional contact deposition processes, while enabling much finer resolution, down to 4-µm fine linewidths. It will offer advantages over ink-jet printing, currently the preferred process for printed electronics, Optomec said, and will also use less chemicals and generate less waste than more traditional manufacturing processes. NanoMas Technologies of Vestal, N.Y., will supply custom ink for the printer and assist in materials characterization, Optomec said. The USDC, located in San Jose, Calif., is a public/private partnership working to advance the flexible electronics and displays industries.