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Achieving High-Resolution Electrohydrodynamic Printing of Nanowires on Elastomeric Substrates through Surface Modification

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journal contribution
posted on 29.12.2020, 15:09 by Ping Ren, Yuxuan Liu, Runqiao Song, Brendan O’Connor, Jingyan Dong, Yong Zhu
Stretchable electronics based on nanomaterials has received much interest recently. However, it is challenging to print 1D nanomaterials (e.g., nanowires) with high resolution on stretchable elastomeric substrates. Electrohydrodynamic (EHD) printing has been used to print 1D nanomaterials such as silver nanowires (AgNWs) on stretchable substrates, but the resolution and electric conductivity of the printed patterns are typically low because of the poor wettability of the ink on the surface of the substrates. This paper reports a systematic study of two surface modification methods, UV–ozone treatment and dopamine coating, to modify the surface of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which enables reliable and tunable EHD printing of AgNWs. The dynamic contact angle and the contact angle hysteresis were systematically studied to understand and evaluate the two surface modification methods. This work further investigates the hydrophobic stability of the two surface modification methods that is of critical relevance to the EHD printing, as it determines the shelf life of the treated samples. The effects of treatment dose and aging on the EHD printing performances, such as resolution and conductivity, were studied to find the feasible ranges of the parameters for the surface treatment and printing process. The surface modification methods along with the proper printing conditions can be selected to tailor and optimize the printing performance. A wearable electronic patch with a fractal pattern of AgNWs is printed on the modified PDMS substrate to demonstrate the potential of the reported surface modification for reliable EHD printing of AgNWs for stretchable devices.