Call Piedmont Region industrial research call 2008
Project Name Ink Jet printing technology for advanced electronics applications
Project Acronym PRINTAG
Partner name Olivetti i-Jet; - Arnad (Aosta ) - Italy
Politronica Inkjet Printing S.r.l. - Italy
Polytechnic of Turin, Materials Science and Chemical Engineering Department
National Metrology Research Institute - Turin - Italy
Start date June 1st 2009
End date September 30th 2011 Closed
The aim of this proposal is the exploitation of the well known Thermal Ink Jet printing technique, widely used for the hardcopy documents production and high definition digital photographic printing, to new advanced applications. One of the most interesting applications of the ink jet is the fabrication of Radio Frequency Identification labels (the so called RFID), which will substitute the bar codes, allowing a simpler use of tags for commercial, industrial, logistics, health, etc. use. Their current limitation is due to a still too costly fabrication (some tens of euro cents).
To get a mass diffusion of RFID tags (trillions of pieces!), their cost should be further limited to few euro cents.Current technologies do not allow a so cheap industrial cost, while the fabrication of simple printing techniques can allow the flexible use of personal printers to produce smart tags. They can be realized by Thermal Ink Jet printers, so reducing to the desired target price the single smart tag, and besides they will contain a larger amount of information, compared to current technologies, so paving the way for a larger spectrum of applications.
In particular, special inks (containing magnetic or conductive nanoparticles) for the mass production of electronic components will be formulated, synthesized and tested.The magnetic and conductive nanoparticles have to be dispersed in a polymeric material network, to allow the realization of a network (by "percolative" technique) which ensures the right electrical properties.New specially devoted printheads, with suitable geometric features of the ejecting nozzles, the correct energy and speed for the deposition of the ejected droplets will be developed.Different kinds of suitable substrate materials, both rigid (glass, silicon) and flexible (different plastics, paper, etc.) will be tested and the formulation of the inks addressed for the optimization of the interaction ink/substrate.
The inks will be ejected by a specially developed Thermal Ink Jet printer, and a demonstrator will be developed within the PrinTAG project.In the first part of the project, some semi-commercial (i.e. prototypal) magnetic, semiconductive and conductive inks will be used, to tests performances of the system. Testing of magnetic and electrical properties of the deposited materials, both as test patterns and simple circuits will be performed. The final purpose is to get a rapid product industrialization of label-RFID printers.
The industrial partners participating to the consortium are a Small Enterprise (Politronica) and a europan leader in the field of Ink Jet printing (Olivetti), while the research partners are two departments of the Politecnico of Torino, DISMIC and DIFIS, working in the material science and in the physical technologies, respectively; a national research laboratory (INRIM), leader in the metrology is completing the research group.
The workplan will be developed in twenty-four months: such a relatively short time was chosen to allow the transfer-to-manufacturing and get a quick exploitation of the results. During the first year, particular attention will be devoted to to the specification definition, to the materials and inks synthesis and formulation, to the design of the ejection printheads and deposition printers; during the second year optimization of the inks, the fabrication and testing of smart tags, to the realization of the prototypal printer, to the interfacing firmware and software.