Shadow Masks for Additive Manufacturing of Electronics

Shadow masks are aligned to the substrate and any existing patterns on the substrate and are brought into close contact with the substrate. The Advantech U.S. process accommodates a wide variety of substrate materials, such as rigid and flexible display grade glass, rigid and flexible plastic substrates, ceramics, semiconductor wafers, metal foils, and printed circuit board materials. Substrates up to 24inch x 36inch (609.6mm x 914.4mm) size can be processed.

The individual thin film is created by physical vapor transport of the deposition source material onto the substrate. Depending on the deposition material, thermal evaporation sources, electron beam evaporators or sputter sources are used to transport the deposition source materials. The Advantech U.S. process is suitable for a broad range of metals, dielectric compounds, semiconductors and organics.

The deposition source material is deposited in regions of the substrate that are exposed by apertures in the shadow mask. The deposited thin film pattern is an image of the mask aperture pattern with film outlines replicating the line edge definition of the apertures.

Devices and circuits are manufactured by consecutive deposition of the desired thin film materials, layer by layer, in the relative position determined by the individual shadow mask pattern. The Advantech U.S. process has been used to pattern fine line interconnects, vias, embedded resistors, capacitors, active matrix display backplanes for OLED and ePaper frontplanes and simple logic gates.

Thin films created with this additive manufacturing process exhibit physical, electrical, optical and mechanical properties close to the respective bulk materials. The manufacturing process flow is simple and inexpensive compared to other additive electronics manufacturing technologies. Since the source material is transported directly onto the substrate no post-deposition processing of the thin films is required.

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