This technical information has been contributed byPITTSBURGH — Advanced materials are critical to the work of a Pittsburgh-based manufacturer that believes its functional metallic inks can play a big role in spurring innovations within the consumer electronics and medical technology sectors.
Liquid X Printed Metals
Particle-free Metallic Inks Reported to Enable 3D Printing of Functional Electronics
Formulated at the atomic level, Liquid X’s metallic inks are said to provide processing advantages and better metal film properties
Liquid X Printed Metals ®, Inc. (Liquid X®) claims to be “pushing the boundaries” by enabling fabrication of functional electronics via the use of additive manufacturing techniques that employ printable metallic inks (www.liquid-x.com). The company recently introduced two particle-free inks that are reported to be formulated at the atomic level to provide a number of advantages over competing inks, including more effective processing and printability.
According to Liquid X, its inks—Silver Inkjet Ink and Silver Flexo Ink—will “enable manufacturers in the electronics and other industries to produce thinner, more cost-effective, and adaptable electronic components” that are expected to drive innovation in consumer electronics and medical technology.
Liquid X’s Silver Inkjet Ink and Silver Flexo Ink were developed using what the company calls “an original and proprietary particle-free formulation that leads to more cost-effective and trouble-free processing; more durable traces that withstand bending and flexing; adherence to the full range of substrates; good conductivity; excellent printability; and enhanced sustainability due to its water-based composition.”
“Liquid X® is introducing particle-free inks that eliminate problems associated with other metallic inks that are made with less stable nanoparticles or metal flakes, which are thicker and can cause clogging, slowness, and other problems in printing,” said Greg Babe, president and CEO of Liquid X, in a company release. “Our Silver Inkjet Ink and Silver Flexo Ink leverage atomic-level technology, which represents the kind of powerful, robust, and adaptable innovation required to tap the fullest potential of printed electronics.”
Liquid X’s molecular inks consist of novel metal complexes that are printed and used to create thin, precise films or traces. These films or traces exhibit high conductivity and allow for low-temperature processing that enables adherence on a wide range of substrates. The low viscosity of the inks allows them to be used in printing methods, such as inkjet, aerosol jet, flexography, and gravure, the company says.
Liquid X says that its conductive inks are designed for applications that range from transparent conductors and touchscreens, to photovoltaic, industrial, and automotive applications, and smart packaging. The company is currently developing a product—Silver Stretchable Ink—that is designed for stretchable substrates, such as fabrics or elastomers. Applications for Silver Stretchable Ink are reported to include wearables, soft robotics, and other customized applications.
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