SCIENCE CHINA Information Sciences, Volume 61, Issue 6: 060412(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-018-9366-5

Aerosol printing and photonic sintering of bioresorbable zinc nanoparticle ink for transient electronics manufacturing

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  • ReceivedJan 2, 2018
  • AcceptedFeb 6, 2018
  • PublishedApr 18, 2018


Bioresorbable electronics technology can potentially lead torevolutionary applications in healthcare, consumer electronics, and datasecurity. This technology has been demonstrated by various functionaldevices. However, majority of these devices are realized by CMOS fabricationapproaches involving complex and time-consuming processes that are high incost and low in yield. Printing electronics technology represents a seriesof printing and post processing techniques that hold promise to make highperformance bioresorbable electronics devices. But investigation of printingapproaches for bioresorbable electronics is very limited. Here wedemonstrate fabrication of conductive bioresorbable patterns using aerosolprinting and photonic sintering approaches. Experimental results andsimulation reveals that ink compositions, photonic energy, film thickness,and ventilation conditions may influence the effect of photonic sintering. Amaximum conductivity of 22321.3 S/m can be achieved using 1 flash withenergy of 25.88 J/cm$^{2}$ with duration of 2 ms. By combining two cascadedsintering procedures using flash light and laser further improve theconductivity to 34722.2 S/m. The results indicate that aerosol printing andphotonic sintering can potentially yield mass fabrication of bioresorbableelectronics, leading to prevalence of printable bioresorbable technology inconsumer electronics and biomedical devices.


This work was supported financially by Interdisciplinary Intercampus Funding Program (IDIC) of University of Missouri System, University of Missouri Research Board (UMRB), Intelligent System Center (ISC) and Material Research Center (MRC) at Missouri University of Science and Technology. This work was also partially supported by National Science Foundation of USA (Grant No. 1363313) and ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. Xian HUANG acknowledges the support of the National 1000 Talent Program. This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61604108) and Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin (Grant No. 16JCYBJC40600). The authors would like to thank Mr. Brian Porter for help with XPS measurements.


Figures S1–S5.

  • Figure 1

    (Color online) Overview of fabricating bioresorbable electronic patterns through aerosol printing and photonic sintering approaches. (a) The schematics of the setup for aerosol printing and photonic sintering; (b) as deposited Zn nanoparticles with 0.1 wt% PVP; (c) sintered Zn nanoparticles with 1 flash at 20.7 J/cm$^2$ on a glass substrate; (d) changes of average diameter of the particles and conductivity of printed patterns with flash energy; (e) dissolution of bioresorbable patterns in water. The error bars indicate the range of the experimental measurements.

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) Effects of PVP in bioresorbable inks made of Zn NPs. Aerosol printed patterns with (a) 0 wt% (b) 0.1 wt% and (c) 1 wt%of PVP when sintered using an increased energy density at 10.18, 14.15 and 20.7 J/cm$^{2}$ from left to right. The scale bar is 5 $\mu~$m. (d) Changes of conductivity and (e) changes of average particle diameter of the samples with different PVP concentrations with flash energy. The error bars indicate the range of the experimental measurements.

  • Figure 3

    (Color online) Study of sintering mechanism in printed Zn patterns. (a) A model containing Zn NPs on a glass substrate in Argon environment is used to conducted simulation in Fluent. Simulated geometry changes as a function of time in (b) thin and (c) thick layers of Zn NPs. (d) Simulated temperature changes during the photonic sintering process for thick and thin layer of Zn NPs. (e) SEM images of samples sintered in air using a photonic energy of 20.7 J/cm$^{2}$ after 1–4 flashes. The images indicate dendrite formation due to rapid cooling rates.

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) Adhesion of printed Zn NPs patterns with Na-CMC substrates. Cross section view of images of (a) an as-printed sample and (b) a sample after 1 flash at 25.88 J/cm$^{2}$. (c) EDS images of color maps of Zinc (Zn) and Carbon (C). Sample with different line widths (d) before and after peeling by Kapton tapes for (e) 5 times and (f) 25 times, respectively.

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Thermal effect between the photonic sintering and laser annealing. (a) A schematic of an experimental setup to conduct photonic sintering followed by laser annealing; (b) substrate damage when only laser annealing is used; (c) morphology changes of a sample that was only subjected to laser annealing; (d) conductivity changes of the samples annealed by laser only; (e) morphology changes of a sample that was only subjected to both photonic sintering and laser annealing; (f) conductivity changes of the samples that have been photonic sintered and laser annealed.

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