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Published September 25, 2000 | public
Journal Article Open

Using convective flow splitting for the direct printing of fine copper lines


Liquid ribbons of solutions of copper hexanoate in a volatile solvent were drawn on a glass slide using either fine glass capillaries or an ink jet printer. After solvent evaporation, the solute was observed to segregate into multiple pairs of stripes much narrower than the initial ribbon diameter. These stripes were then converted to pure copper by annealing. Surface profiles indicate that the thickness, width, and number of lines formed are strongly dependent on the solution viscosity and volume per unit length deposited. From flow visualization studies and surface profiling, we have found that evaporative cooling produces Bénard–Marangoni convection patterns which accrete the solute along two key boundaries of the flow, namely the three phase contact line and the outer edge of a stagnant region about the ribbon apex. These findings suggest that optimization of the deposition and evaporation process can be used to "write" fine metallic lines from a wider liquid precursor.

Additional Information

©2000 American Institute of Physics. (Received 4 January 2000; accepted 2 August 2000) Financial support from the DARPA-ETO Molecular Level Printing program (S.M.T. and S.W.) and a National Science Foundation CAREER award (S.M.T.) are gratefully acknowledged. Alex Furman assisted in the ink-jet experiments.


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