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Research Papers

Aerosol Jet® Direct-Write for Microscale Additive Manufacturing

[+] Author and Article Information
James Q. Feng

Optomec, Inc.,
2575 University Ave. W. #135,
St. Paul, MN 55114
e-mail: jfeng@optomec.com

Michael J. Renn

Optomec, Inc.,
2575 University Ave. W. #135,
St. Paul, MN 55114
e-mail: mrenn@optomec.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MICRO-AND NANO-MANUFACTURING. Manuscript received January 29, 2019; final manuscript received April 12, 2019; published online May 15, 2019. Editor: Nicholas Fang.

J. Micro Nano-Manuf 7(1), 011004 (May 15, 2019) (7 pages) Paper No: JMNM-19-1004; doi: 10.1115/1.4043595 History: Received January 29, 2019; Revised April 12, 2019

The unique capabilities of Aerosol Jet® technology for noncontact material deposition with in-flight adjustment of ink rheology in microdroplets are explained based on first principles of physics. The suitable range of ink droplet size is determined from the effectiveness for inertial impaction when depositing onto substrate and convenience for pneumatic manipulation, in-flight solvent evaporation, etc. The existence of a jet Reynolds number window is shown by a fluid dynamics analysis of impinging jets for Aerosol Jet® printing with long standoff between nozzle and substrate, which defines the operation range of gas flow rate according to the nozzle orifice diameter. The time scale for ink droplets to remove volatile solvent is shown to just coincide that for them to travel in the nozzle channel toward substrate after meeting the coflowing sheath gas, enabling the in-flight manipulation of ink properties for high aspect-ratio feature printing. With inks being able to solidify rapidly, 3D structures, such as tall micropillars and thin-wall boxes, can be fabricated with Aerosol Jet® printing. Having mist droplets in the range of 1–5 μm also makes it possible to print lines of width about 10 μm.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematics of the Aerosol Jet® material deposition system, consisting of an atomizer that generates mist of microdroplets of a functional ink, and a mist transport-conditioning channel that delivers the mist of ink microdroplets to the deposition head, where a high-speed collimated mist jet is formed by an aerodynamic focusing nozzle with sheath gas

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Fig. 2

Droplet size distributions in Aerosol Jet® printing, obtained by cascade impactor measurements (dark diamond), as well as data converted from the histogram shown by Binder et al. [23] (light triangle), and a Rosin–Rammler curve (dotted line): y = (n/d) [(xd0)/d]n−1exp{-[(xd0)/d]n}/(1 – exp{−[(d1d0)/d]n}) with n =2.4, d =2.7, d0 = 0.3, and d1 = 15

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Fig. 3

Deposition radius versus sheath-to-mist ratio Y for particles of ρp = 2 g/cc and various diameters d (i.e., dp with subscript “p” omitted) in units of micron, with standoff S =3 and 5 mm for a deposition nozzle of D =0.15 mm with Q =60 sccm through a converging channel of 1.59 deg taper half angle

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Fig. 4

Schematic of a typical configuration of the Collison Nebulizer

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Fig. 5

Schematic of a typical ultrasonic atomizer in the Aerosol Jet® system

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Fig. 6

Aerosol Jet® printed 60 μm diameter pillars (using a nozzle of D =200 μm) and a 1 mm × 1 mm thin wall box of 0.25 mm tall and 30 μm wall thickness (using a nozzle of D =150 μm) by in situ solidification with a UV-curable material (Loctite 3104) at room temperature

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Fig. 7

Fine conductive lines of width ∼10 μm spaced 30 μm apart printed with an Aerosol Jet® deposition nozzle of orifice diameter D =100 μm on glass at room temperature using a silver nanoparticle ink from Advanced Nano Products (Sejong, South Korea) with ethanol as the volatile solvent

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