By Cameron Chai
Tanaka Holdings, a Tanaka Precious Metals company, has declared that Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo, the operator of the manufacturing business of Tanaka Precious Metals has made the world’s first conductive silver ink commercially available from January 18. The silver ink can help in the printing of electronic circuits by just hardening using ultraviolet or UV light eliminating the need of thermal hardening.
an electronic circuit created through flexographic printing using the silver ink that is to be released
The circuit is printed on base material with the silver ink then it is exposed to UV light for around 0.3 s. The printed film is thus hardened instantaneously even at room temperature to form a current-carrying circuit. For a 5 µm film thickness, wiring was formed with an electric resistivity of 10-3Ωcm.
With this ink, wiring can be done not just on a glass base but also on flexible bases that include PVC and PET films. Wiring on these films has not been possible till now due to their high sensitivity to heat. The silver ink is made to adhere to projections on a rubber plate by a technique called flexographic printing, the ink is highly effective for fabricating electronic components by printing. It will find application in a broad variety of products that include organic EL (electroluminescence) lighting, solar cells, electronic books, panel displays, electronic packaging and RFID tags.
Since there is no need for sophisticated equipment or thermal processing time, the production speed per unit of area is significantly enhanced. Three silver inks with various types of resin and reaction initiator will be made available commercially and users can choose the materials based on the manufacturing application and equipment. The company will initially sell the product as a sample for display, printer and solar cell manufacturers. The company will also upgrade the product in terms of its electrical resistance and at the same time monitor industry trends with regards to such innovations.
Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo showcased this silver ink at the 41st INTERNEPCON JAPAN, which is the biggest exhibition in Asia for electronics mounting and manufacturing technologies at Tokyo Big Sight (Koto-ku, Tokyo) from January 18 to 20. A flexible board with the electronic circuit will be displayed and technical personnel will provide technical details and answer questions.