A bio-enabled maximally mild layer-by-layer Kapton surface modification approach for the fabrication of all-inkjet-printed flexible electronic devices

Citation: 
Fang, Y., Hester, J. G. D., Su, W., Chow, J. H., Sitaraman, S. K., and Tentzeris, M. M., “A bio-enabled maximally mild layer-by-layer Kapton surface modification approach for the fabrication of all-inkjet-printed flexible electronic devices,” Scientific Reports, Dec. 2016
Abstract: 
A bio-enabled, environmentally-friendly, and maximally mild layer-by-layer approach has been developed to surface modify inherently hydrophobic Kapton HN substrates to allow for great printability of both water- and organic solvent-based inks thus facilitating the full-inkjet-printing of flexible electronic devices. Different from the traditional Kapton surface modification approaches which are structure-compromising and use harsh conditions to target, and oxidize and/or remove part of, the surface polyimide of Kapton, the present Kapton surface modification approach targeted the surface electric charges borne by its additive particles, and was not only the first to utilize environmentally-friendly clinical biomolecules to build up a thin film of protamine-heparin complex on Kapton, but also the first to be conducted under minimally destructive and maximally mild conditions. Besides, for electrically charged ink particles, the present surface modification method can enhance the uniformity of the inkjet-printed films by reducing the "coffee ring effect". As a proof-of-concept demonstration, reduced graphene oxide-based gas sensors, which were flexible, ultra-lightweight, and miniature-sized, were fully-inkjet-printed on surface modified Kapton HN films and tested for their sensitivity to dimethyl methylphosphonate (a nerve agent simulant). Such fabricated sensors survived a Scotch-tape peel test and were found insensitive to repeated bending to a small 0.5 cm radius.
Link to Paper: 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28008987