Many electronic components, such as multi-layer ceramic capacitors and thick film resistors, are manufactured by processes very similar to ink jet printing, using concentrated nanoparticles dispersed in organic liquids. Manufacturers apply hundreds of layers of submicron particle dispersions to produce a single component. The uniformity of the dispersion is critical to the quality of the end product. In capacitor manufacturing, poorly dispersed particles can clog print nozzles during processing, and produce out of spec dielectric values. The Acorn Area is an ideal tool to develop electronic dispersions and then later, to monitor the quality of those dispersions in manufacturing.
Dispersions for the electronics industry contain additives to ensure stability during processing. Competitive adsorption and/or displacement of polymers and surfactants at interfaces can be monitored using the Acorn Area. It is straightforward, especially using the flow-through option of the Acorn Area, to determine “optimum coverage” of an adsorbed species for maximum stability during processing.
Electronics manufacturing involves a wide range of conditions, ranging from very low shear mixing to very high shear conditions at the print nozzle. Understanding how these conditions affect dispersion quality is essential to producing the best product possible. The Acorn Area is an ideal tool to monitor formulation quality as a function of processing conditions.
Stability Changes in the particle-liquid interface can be detected with the Acorn Area. Electronics dispersion formulations can be measured non-invasively, without further preparation. The same aliquot of sample can be monitored over days, weeks or months. The effects of temperature can also be studied using one of the Acorn Area temperature control options.