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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2015 Jun 10;7(22):11755-64. doi: 10.1021/am508905t. Epub 2015 May 26.

Polymer Surface Engineering for Efficient Printing of Highly Conductive Metal Nanoparticle Inks.

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†Institute of Synthetic Polymeric Materials of Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya Ul. 70, 117393 Moscow, Russia.
‡Nokia Technologies, 21 JJ Thomson Avenue, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0FA, United Kingdom.
§Chemistry Department, Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory 1-3, Moscow 119991, Russia.


An approach to polymer surface modification using self-assembled layers (SALs) of functional alkoxysilanes has been developed in order to improve the printability of silver nanoparticle inks and enhance adhesion between the metal conducting layer and the flexible polymer substrate. The SALs have been fully characterized by AFM, XPS, and WCA, and the resulting printability, adhesion, and electrical conductivity of the screen-printed metal contacts have been estimated by cross-cut tape test and 4-point probe measurements. It was shown that (3-mercaptopropyl)trimethoxysilane SALs enable significant adhesion improvements for both aqueous- and organic-based silver inks, approaching nearly 100% for PEN and PDMS substrates while exhibiting relatively low sheet resistance up to 0.1 Ω/sq. It was demonstrated that SALs containing functional -SH or -NH2 end groups offer the opportunity to increase the affinity of the polymer substrates to silver inks and thus to achieve efficient patterning of highly conductive structures on flexible and stretchable substrates.


adhesion enhancement; functional alkoxysilanes; metal nanoparticle inks; printed electronics; self-assembly; surface modification


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