IRVINE, CA - The Electronics Group of Henkel has developed a suite of clear conductive inks that provide superior flexibility, printability and conductivity for multiple applications including industrial touch screens, electroluminescent (EL) lighting, solar cell manufacturing and micro-scale LED lighting, among others.
ITO is the reigning clear conductor technology for today’s touch screens, but the process can be time- and cost-intensive. To address the challenges with ITO, Henkel developed Loctite ECI 5000 series clear conductive inks for use with certain industrial touch screens, multiple lighting technologies and solar cells. The new transparent inks can be printed using standard printing processes, delivering an additive process that allows for precise control of material deposition pattern and thickness. The ability to print the Henkel inks also enables extremely high throughput and a reduction in overall process cost as compared to ITO.
The portfolio of Loctite ECI 5000 materials has been formulated with varying application requirements in mind – from high conductivity to transparency levels to cost control. In fact, some of the materials are more conductive than standard ITO (non-multilayer ITO). With proper manufacturing processes, Loctite ECI 5000 series materials can be printed down to a sheet resistance value of 30? per square versus single-layer ITO, which averages approximately 60? per square, making the Henkel materials two times more conductive than a single-layer sputtering process.
New Lighting Technology Enabled by Loctite ECI 5003 Ink
For printing application innovator NthDegree, the Henkel transparent conductive ink was the only solution for its unique micro-scale LED lighting technology. The Tempe, Arizona-based research and development company with expertise in printing technologies for a variety of applications needed a robust, highly conductive transparent ink for its groundbreaking lighting innovation. NthDegree’s patented technology involves the printing of several thin layers of material -- including diodes (micro-scale LEDs) the size of a white blood cell -- onto a flexible substrate such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to yield a functional, printed lighting solution. As compared to traditional, solid state LEDs, the NthDegree technology offers a lighting innovation that is lower cost, exceptionally thin and flexible, lightweight, lower temperature and unlimited in design opportunities.
“We developed a micro-scale printed inorganic LED technology and required a highly conductive ink for the top layer to complete the circuit,” explains NthDegree’s Client Services Representative and Creative Director, Andrew Dennis. “Henkel’s Loctite ECI 5003 transparent conductive ink was the only market-ready material that had the high level of conductivity we required. Thanks to this new ink, as well as Henkel’s Loctite NCI 9001 dielectric material, we are now able to commercialize our first applications for point-of-purchase signage and advertising. This is a complete shift, an exciting disruptive technology that has the potential to revolutionize previous notions of lighting applications.”
In addition to the conductive inks, which boast excellent printability and open screen time, very good low electrical resistance and good transmittance, a dielectric top-coat has also been developed to complement the novel materials. The top coat, Loctite NCI 9001, has been designed to work in concert with the Loctite ECI 5000 series inks to improve environmental protection, handing and UV stability. Like the conductive inks, Loctite NCI 9001 is suited for flatbed printing and has excellent printability and open screen time. It can also be applied using rotary screen printing to enable process flexibility and application-specific adaptability. When tested on treated polyester film and glass, Loctite NCI 9001 exhibited excellent adhesion and UV protection.
For more information about Loctite ECI 5000 series clear conductive inks or Loctite NCI 9001, log onto www.henkel.com/electronics or call +1-888-943-6535 in the Americas, +32 1457 5611 in Europe or +86 21 3898 4800 in Asia.
About NthDegree Technologies Worldwide Inc.
NthDegree is a research and engineering firm focused on developing disruptive printing technologies for a variety of applications including, but not limited to, printed lighting, printed photovoltaics and printed energy storage. Founded in 2006, the Tempe, Arizona-based company has engineered the world’s first-ever micro-scale printed solid state LED lighting technology to enable countless applications.