Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Knopf, George K.


This dissertation presents methods for deposition and post-processing of Graphene-Carboxymethyl Cellulose (G-CMC) and Graphene Oxide (GO) aqueous functional inks using a custom drop-on-demand (DOD) printer to fabricate mechanically flexible, non-transparent and transparent thin film electronic devices. Thin films on flexible substrates find use in lightweight, low profile, and conformable electronic devices. Such devices can include chemical sensors, flexible RFID tags, bioelectronics circuits, lightweight electronics for space systems, and transparent electrodes for optoelectronic systems. The goal of this research project is to provide simple methods for fabrication of these devices using environmentally friendly and easy to synthesize functional inks. Therefore, two graphene based inks are utilized; GO and a novel Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC) functionalized aqueous dispersion of Graphene, G-CMC. Proposed functional inks are deposited on treated substrates by DOD printing. Deposited thin films were post-processed by use of a muffle furnace or a pulsed laser system. Furthermore, gold doped G-CMC films and G-Silver Nanoprism (G-AgNP) composite inks were developed to enhance film electrical properties.

Inkjet printed films on glass substrates were characterized in terms of their electrical, optical, and mechanical properties. Correlations between film thickness, optical transmittance, and conductivity were investigated. It was possible to deposit homogeneous thin films at 100 nm to 2000 nm thickness. G-CMC films exhibited good scaling of conductance where thicker films had ~ 660 Ω/sq sheet resistance. Gold doped and G-AgNP composite semi-transparent films exhibited enhanced conductance with sheet resistances of ~ 700 Ω/sq at 35% transparency and ~ 374 Ω/sq at 50% transparency, respectively. Laser assisted treatment of samples was conducted to investigate two opportunities; pulsed laser thermal treatment and pulsed laser micromachining on rigid and flexible substrates. Effect of laser parameters was investigated to establish guidelines for thin film thermal treatment and micromachining Finally, novel flexible sensors and circuits were fabricated to demonstrate task driven performance of proposed materials and methods.

Based on the presented work, proposed methods and functional inks show promise for fabricating simple electronic devices on flexible and rigid substrates. It is believed that presented advances may benefit industrial fields that require scalable and simple thin film fabrication methods.