Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Near-IR sintering of conductive silver nanoparticle ink with in situ resistance measurement

  • 168 Accesses


Metal nanoparticle inks are excellent options for printing low-resistance metal conductors and electrical interconnects. However, after deposition, these inks require high-temperature annealing to sinter and increase conductivity. Infrared (IR) heaters are an efficient, roll-to-roll compatible method to apply thermal energy. Here, we characterize the effect of near-infrared (N-IR) heating on the structure and properties of printed silver nanoparticle ink (UTD Ag40x, UT Dots Inc.). A method was developed to measure the resistance and temperature of printed conductive inks as a function of exposure to the IR heater. The N-IR heater was found to sinter the Ag40x silver samples (lower the resistance of 7 mm printed lines to 1000 Ω) in 11.6 ± 1.5 min at maximum intensity with a large drop from the highest measured resistance (60 MΩ) to 1000 Ω in 1.2 ± 0.2 min. Decreasing the heater power increased the time to reach 1000 Ω (to 28.3 ± 2.0 min at 80%), but reducing from 60 MΩ to 1000 Ω still only took 1.9 ± 0.3 min. This suggests sintering progresses rapidly once initiated. SEM images of the ink before and after IR heating show microstructural changes associated with sintering and indicate the role of agglomerates and organic binders in impeding sintering.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5


  1. 1.

    Szczech, JB, Megaridis, CM, Zhang, J, Gamota, DR, “Ink Jet Processing of Metallic Nanoparticle Suspensions for Electronic Circuitry Fabrication.” Microscale Thermophys. Eng., 8 (4) 327–339 (2004)

  2. 2.

    Perelaer, J, Smith, PJ, Mager, D, Soltman, D, Volkman, SK, Subramanian, V, Korvink, JG, Schubert, US, “Printed Electronics: the Challenges Involved in Printing Devices, Interconnects, and Contacts Based on Inorganic Materials.” J. Mater. Chem., 20 (39) 8446 (2010)

  3. 3.

    Chang, WY, Fang, TH, Sheh, YT, Lin, YC, “Flexible Electronics Sensors for Tactile Multiscanning.” Rev. Sci. Instrum, 80 084701–084716 (2009)

  4. 4.

    Rida, A, Yang, L, Vyas, R, Bhattaeharya, S, Tentzeris, MM, Design and Integration of Inkjet-Printed Paper-Based UHF Components for RFID and Ubiquitous Sensing Applications. Proceedings of the 37th European Microwave Conference, EUMC, pp. 724–727 (2007).

  5. 5.

    Angmo, D, Larsen-Olsen, TT, Jørgensen, M, Søndergaard, RR, Krebs, FC, “Roll-to-Roll Inkjet Printing and Photonic Sintering of Electrodes for ITO Free Polymer Solar Cell Modules and Facile Product Integration.” Adv. Energy Mater., 3 (2) 172–175 (2013)

  6. 6.

    Eom, SH, Park, H, Mujawar, SH, Yoon, SC, Kim, SS, Na, SI, Kang, SJ, Khim, D, Kim, DY, Lee, SH, “High Efficiency Polymer Solar Cells via Sequential Inkjet-Printing of PEDOT:pSS and P3HT:PCBM Inks with Additives.” Org. Electron., 11 (9) 1516–1522 (2010)

  7. 7.

    Mahajan, A, Frisbie, CD, Francis, LF, “Optimization of Aerosol Jet Printing for High Resolution, High Aspect Ratio Silver Lines.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 5 (11) 4856–4864 (2013)

  8. 8.

    Hummelgård, M, Zhang, R, Nilsson, HE, Olin, H, “Electrical Sintering of Silver Nanoparticle Ink Studied by In-Situ TEM Probing.” PLoS One, 6 (2) 1–6 (2011)

  9. 9.

    Francis, L. F. Materials Processing: A Unified Approach to Processing of Metals, Ceramics and Polymers, 1st ed.; Elsevier Inc., 2016.

  10. 10.

    Tobjörk, D, Aarnio, H, Pulkkinen, P, Bollström, R, Määttänen, A, “IR-Sintering of Ink-Jet Printed Metal-Nanoparticles on Paper.” Thin Solid Films, 520 (7) 2949–2955 (2012)

  11. 11.

    Murphy, C, Radiant Heating with Infrared, 39 (1999)

  12. 12.

    Cherrington, M, Claypole, TC, Deganello, D, Mabbett, I, Watson, T, Worsley, D, “Ultrafast Near-Infrared Sintering of a Slot-Die Coated Nano-Silver Conducting Ink.” J. Mater. Chem., 21 (21) 7562–7564 (2011)

  13. 13.

    Hwang, HJ, Chung, WH, Kim, HS, "In situ Monitoring of Flash-Light Sintering of Copper Nanoparticle Ink for Printed Electronics." Nanotechnology, 23 (48) (2012)

  14. 14.

    UT Dots. Our Products https://utdots.com/products. Accessed 8 Aug 2019.

  15. 15.

    Zare Bidoky, F, Frisbie, CD, “Parasitic Capacitance Effect on Dynamic Performance of Aerosol-Jet-Printed Sub 2 V Poly(3-Hexylthiophene) Electrolyte-Gated Transistors.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 8 (40) 27012–27017 (2016)

  16. 16.

    Secor, EB, "Guided Ink and Process Design for Aerosol Jet Printing Based on Annular Drying Effects." Flex. Print. Electron., 3 (3) (2018)

  17. 17.

    Adphos Worldwide. AdphosNIR Technology https://www.adphos.com/technology/adphosnir-technology. Accessed 8 Aug 2019

  18. 18.

    Mahajan, A, Francis, LF, Frisbie, CD, “Facile Method for Fabricating Flexible Substrates with Embedded, Printed Silver Lines.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 6 (2) 1306–1312 (2014)

  19. 19.

    Cai, F, Chang, Y, Wang, K, Khan, W, Pavlidis, S, Papapolymerou, J, "High Resolution Aerosol Jet Printing of D-Band Printed Transmission Lines on Flexible LCP Substrate Characterize the DC Performance of the Printed Metal." 0–2 (2014)

  20. 20.

    Vaillancourt, J, Zhang, H, Vasinajindakaw, P, Xia, H, Lu, X, Han, X, Janzen, DC, Shih, W, Jones, CS, Stroder, M, Chen, MY, Subbaraman, H, Chen, RT, Berger, U, Renn, M, “All Ink-Jet-Printed Carbon Nanotube Thin-Film Transistor on a Polyimide Substrate with an Ultrahigh Operating Frequency of over 5 GHz All Ink-Jet-Printed Carbon Nanotube Thin-Film Transistor on a Polyimide Substrate with an Ultrahigh Operating Frequency O.” Appl. Phys. Lett., 93 243301 (2008)

  21. 21.

    Williams, BA, Mahajan, A, Smeaton, MA, Holgate, CS, Aydil, ES, Francis, LF, “Formation of Copper Zinc Tin Sulfide Thin Films from Colloidal Nanocrystal Dispersions via Aerosol-Jet Printing and Compaction.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 7 (21) 11526–11535 (2015)

Download references


This work was initially supported by the Multi-University Research Initiative (MURI) program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (MURI Award No. N00014-11-1-0690) and then by the National Science Foundation (NSF Award No. CMMI-1634263). K. S. J. gratefully acknowledges support from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. (00039202). D. J. K. thanks the donors to the Scriven Undergraduate Research Fund at the University of Minnesota Foundation for support. The authors thank F. Zare Bidoky for significant help with aerosol jet printing. The authors thank Adphos North America for providing the Adphos IR heater used in these studies. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program. Portions of this work were conducted in the Minnesota Nano Center, which is supported by the National Science Foundation through the National Nano Coordinated Infrastructure Network (NNCI) under Award Number ECCS-1542202.

Author information

Correspondence to Lorraine F. Francis.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Presented at the 19th International Coating Science and Technology Symposium, September 16–19, 2018, in Long Beach, CA.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Keller, D.J., Jochem, K.S., Suszynski, W.J. et al. Near-IR sintering of conductive silver nanoparticle ink with in situ resistance measurement. J Coat Technol Res 16, 1699–1705 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11998-019-00268-5

Download citation


  • Infrared sintering
  • Silver nanoparticle ink
  • In situ resistance measurements
  • Aerosol jet printing