NASA Logo

NTRS

NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Transparent Conductive Ink for Additive ManufacturingNASA analyzes, tests, packages, and fabricates electrical, electronic, and electromechanical (EEE) parts. Nanotechnology is listed in NASA's Technology Roadmap as a key area to invest for further development.1 This research project focused on using nanotechnology to improve electroluminescent lighting in terms of additive manufacturing and to increase energy efficiency. Specifically, this project's goal was to produce a conductive but transparent printable ink that can be sprayed on any surface for use as one of the electrodes in electroluminescent device design. This innovative work is known as thick film dielectric electroluminescent (TDEL) technology. TDEL devices are used for "backlighting, illumination, and identification due to their tunable color output, scalability, and efficiency" (I.K. Small, T.D. Rolin, and A.D. Shields, "3D Printed Electroluminescent Light Panels," NASA Fiscal Year 2017 Center Innovation Fund Proposal, unpublished data, 2017). These devices use a 'front-to-back' printing method, where the substrate is the transparent layer, and the dielectric and phosphor are layered on top. This project is a first step in the process of creating a 3D printable 'back-to-front' electroluminescent device. Back-to-front 3D-printed devices are beneficial because they can be printed onto different substrates and embedded in different surfaces, and the substrate is not required to be transparent, all because the light is emitted from the top surface through the transparent conductor. Advances in this area will help further development of printing TDEL devices on an array of different surfaces. Figure 1 demonstrates the layering of the two electrodes that are aligned in a parallel plate capacitor structure (I.K. Small, T.D. Rolin, and A.D. Shields, "3D Printed Electroluminescent Light Panels," NASA Fiscal Year 2017 Center Innovation Fund Proposal, unpublished data, 2017). Voltage is applied across the device, and the subsequent electron excitation results in light emission at the top layer.
Document ID
20170012331
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Authors
Patlan, X. J. (Illinois Univ. Chicago, IL, United States)
Rolin, T. D. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
December 18, 2017
Publication Date
October 1, 2017
Subject Category
Electronics and Electrical Engineering
Report/Patent Number
M-1444
NASA/TM-2017-219690
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 20170012331.pdf STI