The aim of the BASMATI project is the development of large volume production processes for:
(i) Conductive inks based on metallic nanoparticles (copper, aluminium and nickel) and graphene nanoparticles. [applications: conductive layer for printed electronics devices]
(ii) Electrochemical inks (based metal phosphates and on metallic oxides: LiFePO4 [LFP] and LiNi1/3Mn1/3Co1/3O2 [NMC]). [applications: cathode materials for printed batteries]
These inks will be formulated, fabricated and up-scaled up to pilot conditions to offer full compatibility with high throughput processes such as inkjet printing and screen printing at low cost.
Formulations will be based on nanoparticles mixed with polymer binders, appropriate additives and solvents to meet the requirements for printing compatibility, without compromising the functional performance (e.g. conductivity or electrochemical behaviour) of the final printed layer. Especially, the challenges addressed in BASMATI will tackle:
- The control of nanoparticle sizes, size distribution and shape;
- The formulation of inks based on nanoparticles to achieve proper rheological (e.g. viscosity) and morphological (limited aggregates formation) properties;
- The compatibility of formulated inks with substrate (flexible polymer type), high throughput, high resolution printing technologies such as inkjet and screen printing: control of layers thinness and defects, reproducibility and reliability of process.
Pilot lines (~150-350 kg per day) of low cost inks dedicated to printed electronics will be realized and delivered by the project. Special attention will be paid to the application of nanosafety guidelines at every step of the process. Moreover, the use of water instead of organic solvents will be investigated during the formulation steps of conductive and electrochemical inks so as to meet REACH requirements.
BASMATI will assess the quality of the pilot production of formulated inks by printing a fully functional thin film battery (two different architectures will demonstrate the versatility of inkjet and screen printing technologies).
The project will overcome technological and economic barriers inherent to the availability of inks for printed electronics:
- Supply of low cost Cu and Al conductive inks: reduction of 50% compared with current silver based inks. Availability: production of relevant quantities of electrochemical inks (150 kg/batch) and conductive inks (350 kg/batch).
- Compatibility with high definition printing processes: inks will be usable both for high throughput and high resolution (inkjet) printing technologies (inkjet and screen printing)
- Nanosafety guidance will be carefully applied at all steps of nanoparticles synthesis and introduction in formulations.
- Ink formulations involving water based and non-toxic solvents will be studied.
The project cover two kind of nanomaterials inks:
- Conductive inks (Cu, Al) will be suitable as a low cost alternative to silver for a large range of applications (RFID, photovoltaic, sensors, vehicles, smart packages) and the whole market of these inks has been estimated to $3.36 billion in 2023.
- Electrochemical inks will be targeting printed energy storage applications (printed electrode, thin-film battery). This market will reach a volume $1.9 billion by 2017.
Nanosafety will be carefully introduced in the project protocols thanks to the wide experience of CEA in the field. Existing guidance and good practice documents will be applied and BASMATI will produce Guidance documents and Standard operating procedures that will be shared with a broad audience i.e. NanoSafetyCluster, EU-FP7, H2020 and National projects as well as international harmonization activities to contribute to define the framework for future standardization and legislation.
Guidance documents will be prepared by partners involved in NanosafetyCluster and Nanoreg to ensure safe working conditions as well as minimizing consumer and environmental exposure.
The project consortium brings together the whole industrial value chain covering nanomaterials inks formulation and upscale (nanomaterials suppliers, ink formulators, ink producer, printing equipment manufacturer and end-user). Collaboration between all stakeholders in the value chain will enable a better integration of the different technologies developed in the project facilitating the industrial take-up of ink productions in printed device applications.