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Green synthesis of micron-sized silver flakes and their application in conductive ink

Li, Wei, Xu, Xiaoxue, Li, Wenjiang, Zhao, Yun, Chen, Minfang
Journal of materials science 2018 v.53 no.9 pp. 6424-6432
X-ray diffraction, ascorbic acid, electronic equipment, electronics, ferric chloride, microelectrodes, paper, polyvinylpyrrolidone, reducing agents, scanning electron microscopy, silver, silver nitrate, solvents, temperature
A facile, green method for fabrication of conductive ink composed of Ag flakes was developed for use in flexible printed electronics. The Ag flakes were prepared using AgNO₃, nontoxic L-ascorbic acid (Vc) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) serving as a metal salt, reducing agent and capping agent, respectively. The prepared Ag flakes were characterized by XRD, SEM, and TGA. The combination of PVP and FeCl₃ was found to be critical for the formation of the Ag flakes, and reaction activity was affected by temperature. Samples obtained at 140 °C were composed of Ag flakes with an average size of 0.94 ± 0.3 μm. A new fabrication method for producing conductive patterns was designed using a syringe with varying dispersion areas, allowing the ink (Ag flakes and organic solvent) to be applied directly onto a flexible photo paper. The conductivity and flexibility of the pattern were experimentally tested under varying reaction temperatures and bending cycles. Increasing contact area and packing density between Ag flakes resulted in an improved conductivity of the bending pattern. After more than 5000 bending cycles, the patterns were sintered at 160 °C and the resistivity increased from 4.6 ± 0.6 to 22.4 ± 0.8 μΩ cm, acceptable values for practical applications. Sample conductive lines drawn by the Ag flake ink exhibited excellent conductive performance and mechanical integrity, demonstrating a promising method for the formation of flexible microelectrodes or electronic devices.