L. Fu, S. Shang, E. Fearon, W. Perrie, S. P. Edwardson, G. Dearden, and K. G. Watkins
The development of the plastic electronics industry has drawn great interest and inspired technology innovations in a broad area. This has stimulated the rapid development of flexible circuitry manufacturing technologies, including advances in conductive inks, printing technology and most importantly the novel curing laser optical engineering based curing (or Laser Direct
Write). This has the ability to replace the conventional environmentally damaging and time consuming chemical etching method in current Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufacturing.
This work presented in this paper is an investigation into the Nd:YAG laser curing process at the wavelength of 532 nm of particulate silver inks. A mathematical approximation of key physical properties has been developed based on the presented experimental research for use in a finite element model (FEM) simulation. 532 nm has shown benefits in protecting the flexible substrate used from thermal damage, owing to the high transparency of the wavelength through the substrate material. In this paper, liquid-phase particulate silver ink tracks eposited on flexible substrates were irradiated by laser along the track geometry. Repetition of the laser beam scanning was found to produce a smooth and fully cured sample and further reduced the track’s electrical resistivity.