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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Direct writing of metal films via microplasma scanning and applications to printed sensors Ibrahim, Ahmed Magdy Elsayed Abdulwahed


Direct writing of precise micro-patterns of metallic films is an emerging fabrication technique applicable for a vast range of devices. Techniques for printing various materials are being developed for some time owing to the escalating demand, and have seen substantial progress over the years. The objective of this research is to develop a simple direct writing technique that can accurately form desired patterns with high film quality, low cost, and rapid time. Micro glow discharge manipulation may be used to print metal structures with high precision. The proposed micro-scale process for local deposition and direct writing of metal films through sputtering of a micro-machined target electrode is achieved via a highly confined micro glow plasma generated between the electrode’s end and the substrate without the need of processing under vacuum. Through the use of micro-machined cylindrical-shaped target electrodes of the desired metal or metal alloy, the microplasma is steadily sustained to confirm the local deposition of the electrode material on the conductive substrate. Film characterization, performed by thickness profilometer reveals the patterning of target material with thicknesses ranging from the 100-nm order to several micrometers, dependent on the discharge current and feed rate. The viability of the process to pattern films over non-planar surfaces is achieved with high quality. The applicability of the devised technique to micro-pattern T-type thermocouple junctions is demonstrated and the thermoelectric performance of the printed sensors is measured to verify their thermoelectric function, with a sensitivity of 39 µV/oC that matches well the Seebeck voltage of a typical T-type device. The process scheme is promising for rapid, and low-cost production of thin film patterns and applicable to print of temperature sensors, potentially on a variety of objects including three-dimensional components and flexible substrates.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International