Technical Brief

Evolution of Nanoparticle Deposits Printed Using Electrospray

[+] Author and Article Information
Nicholas A. Brown

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
State University of New York at Binghamton,
4400 Vestal Parkway East,
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
e-mail: nbrown14@binghamton.edu

Jessica N. Gladstone

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
State University of New York at Binghamton,
4400 Vestal Parkway East,
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
e-mail: jgladst2@binghamton.edu

Paul R. Chiarot

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
State University of New York at Binghamton,
4400 Vestal Parkway East,
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
e-mail: pchiarot@binghamton.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MICRO- AND NANO-MANUFACTURING. Manuscript received August 6, 2014; final manuscript received November 7, 2014; published online December 12, 2014. Editor: Jian Cao.

J. Micro Nano-Manuf 3(1), 014502 (Mar 01, 2015) (4 pages) Paper No: JMNM-14-1048; doi: 10.1115/1.4029198 History: Received August 06, 2014; Revised November 07, 2014; Online December 12, 2014

In an electrospray, large electric potentials are used to generate a spray of highly charged droplets. Colloidal dispersions, consisting of nanoparticles in a volatile solvent, can be atomized using electrospray. Printing occurs by directing the emitted droplets toward a target substrate (TS). The solvent evaporation is rapid and dry nanoparticles are produced before reaching the surface. In this study, we investigate the structure of nanoparticle deposits printed using electrospray. Using dark field microscopy, four regimes are identified that mark the evolution of the deposit structure at early times. Electrospray imparts an excess electric charge onto the emitted particles. It is shown that the mutual Coulombic interaction between the particles governs their transport and ultimately the microstructure of the printed deposits. Electrospray offers enhanced control over the microstructure of printed nanomaterial deposits compared to traditional printing techniques. This has significant implications for the manufacturing of flexible electronic and photonic devices.

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Fig. 1

Electrospray printing of colloidal dispersions. The high electric potential deforms fluid at the edge of the capillary tube into a Taylor cone. A jet emits from the apex of the cone and breaks up into charged droplets. The droplets rapidly evaporate, leaving dry material that is deposited onto the substrate.

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Fig. 2

Experimental setup. A capillary tube is pulled to a fine tip and held in a manifold. HV is applied to the manifold through a relay. The nanoparticle dispersion is supplied to the manifold using an SP. Printing occurs on a TS located on the ground plate. The separation distance between the emitter and substrate is controlled in z-direction. The substrate position is controlled in the x- and y-direction. Two machine vision systems (M1 and M2) are used to observe the process.

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Fig. 3

Examples of electrospray printed deposits of 460 nm polystyrene particles in methanol. Sprays times were (a) 50 ms, (b) 2 s, (c) 7 s, and (d) 20 s. The images are converted to binary. Image (a) is inverted for clarity. The inset image is taken at the center of (a) and magnified to show individual particles. The scale bar is 500 μm; inset scale bar is 50 μm.

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Fig. 4

Particle density plots along the radial direction for the deposits shown in Fig. 3. The horizontal axis represents the radial distance from the center to the edge of the deposit. The vertical axis represents the average grayscale values along concentric rings.

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Fig. 5

Comparison of deposit structure for (a) 80 nm silver nanoparticles and (b) 460 nm polystyrene nanoparticles. The deposit structure is similar. At the inset is an SEM image of the deposit taken at approximately the center of the frame. Spray time was 12 s.



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