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Posted: Feb 16, 2011

PDIM Metalized Conductive Film Technology

(Nanowerk News) Printed Electronics (PE) is being touted as the coming electronic packaging solution for many applications by many industry experts. In many of today's electronic applications for instance, the interconnection of electronic components no longer require the robustness of circuit traces formed from etched or plated copper printed circuit boards.
While wholeheartedly in agreement, the developers of PDIM feel that their product offers other advantages that go beyond PE technology capabilities.
PDIM (Pre-Deposited Images in Metal) is a process by which one of several metals can be SELECTIVELY deposited onto a plastic substrate of various thicknesses.
While PE and PDIM both are both additive and selective processes, PDIM differs in that there is no conductive printing ink involved in the process. PDIM is the direct and selective deposition of metal onto a plastic substrate and as such eliminates the problem found in all conductive inks: inherent resistance as caused by the binders/solvents used in ink and end product fine line resolution.
PDIM's image deposition can be graphical, circuit, patterned grids or a combination of all three. Essentially, what can be printed can be deposited in copper, aluminum, silver or nickel on one or both sides of the supporting substrate which can be PET, PEN or Kapton. Substrate thickness varying from 12.5µm on up to .010" is available in various grades of PET.
PDIM can be laminated onto packaging material encompassing for instance some metallic graphic enhancements yet incorporate circuitry to make "smart packaging".
Smart packaging could be the incorporation of RF capabilities, RFID, interactive electronics such as "printed games" which would make the box itself become the bonus toy opening up a new promotional packaging industry.
PDIM can be manufactured to food grade standards, allowing the wrapping itself to become the electronic device equipped with for example the RFID component or an RF emitting tracing device for those interested in wanting to know where their products end up.
An advantage of PDIM is that it can be made self-adhesive to affix to or laminate onto rather than print on the electronic circuit on a package making the purchase of PDIM circuitry an add-on component rather than having to incorporate PE printing capabilities into a packager's manufacturing process.
PDIM's high resolution (currently 25µm wide traces) can be formatted into clear conductive grids of any pattern desired and as such finds a home in solar PV, OLED, EL, capacitive touch screens and more. A crisscrossed hatch pattern made with 25µm wide traces with a spacing of 500µm results in a clear conductor with over 90% transparency. Using a grid pattern could also act as a booster to thinly applied ITO, making the clear areas conductive as well.
From simple electronics such as membrane switches to disposable medical analysis strips, PDIM is finding favor in many "design for use" applications.
Source: Caledon Controls (press release)
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