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Nanotechnology. 2008 Apr 30;19(17):175201. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/19/17/175201. Epub 2008 Mar 25.

Electrical sintering of nanoparticle structures.

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VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Sensors, POB 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Espoo, Finland.


A method for sintering nanoparticles by applying voltage is presented. This electrical sintering method is demonstrated using silver nanoparticle structures ink-jet-printed onto temperature-sensitive photopaper. The conductivity of the printed nanoparticle layer increases by more than five orders of magnitude during the sintering process, with the final conductivity reaching 3.7 × 10(7) S m(-1) at best. Due to a strong positive feedback induced by the voltage boundary condition, the process is very rapid-the major transition occurs within 2 µs. The best obtained conductivity is two orders of magnitude better than for the equivalent structures oven-sintered at the maximum tolerable temperature of the substrate. Additional key advantages of the method include the feasibility for patterning, systematic control of the final conductivity and in situ process monitoring. The method offers a generic tool for electrical functionalization of nanoparticle structures.

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