NANO4INKS: New conductive and printable semiconductor materials based on advanced nanoparticles

Start date: December 1, 2018
End date: November 30, 2019


Today, printed electronics emerges as a powerful and competitive technology for the manufacture of electronic devices using different printing techniques that allow for great flexibility in the manufacturing process and significant material savings. These printing techniques can also adapt to different environments at a lower cost and manufacture large formats. With this technology, we can print the touchscreen of a car, for instance.

One of the main problems that we have encountered is that there are no suitable materials to meet the increasingly sophisticated features required of electronic products. Consequently, a large number of developments related to this technology have slowed down, been delayed and even abandoned on many occasions.

In order to meet the demand for new materials, the NANO4INKS project was created, where we have formulated conductive and semiconductor inks based on advanced nanoparticles to print them with inkjet technology.

The project has been structured in 3 phases:

Phase 1: Advanced nanoparticles

– Phase 2: INKJET ink formulation

-Phase 3: Validation of developed materials

NAITEC has focused on inks and the design and manufacture of diodes and Lurederra has focused on nanoparticles.

-Our goal:

During the second year of the project, we have synthesized nanoparticles (NPs) formed by a silver-coated silica core (SiO2@Ag) with the idea of replacing the silver currently used at a more competitive price.

The second ones are Aluminum doped Zinc Oxide (AZO), which is an n-type semiconductor. The third ones are molybdenum oxide (MoO3), but a p-type semiconductor.

-What has been developed:

With the nanoparticles produced in the project, we have worked in a formulation and grinding process and obtained the electronic inks.

The first one has the ability to conduct electricity and it could replace structured cabling.

The other two inks are n- and p-type semiconductors, which are materials that are being introduced in the market as excellent substitutes for indium oxides, which are more expensive and scarce.

To validate the developed materials, we have designed and manufactured diodes that have allowed us to evaluate their behaviour and verify that these materials work.

Thus, thanks to the materials such as those developed in the project, a door has been opened towards the manufacture of increasingly complex printed devices, such as the manufacture of completely flat touchscreens or fully printed photovoltaic cells.

Nano4inks is a collaborative project financed by the Government of Navarre led by Naitec and partnered with Lurederra and ADItech.