Copper as an alternative to silver in printed electronics

Zachary J. Davis

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Copper as an alternative to silver in printed electronics

Printed electronics is among the new technological possibilities, that help companies produce smarter products. Well-known products such as solar cells will become smaller and more efficient at storing solar energy. And we will see new products such as textiles that can measure heart rhythms. We are involved in the development by making copper nanoparticles for printed electronics.

Just like printing a newspaper is it possible to print conductive paths on materials like paper, plastic and textiles. Printed electronics is already used a lot in solar cell productions.

But the technological possibility to unite electronic and flexible materials will within a short time bring new products to the market. This is for example wearable technologies and Intelligent packaging which that can measure temperatures and bacteria content in food.

Nanoink can give life to new products
The products all have conductive paths of silver, which gives them life. But silver is a very expensive material. Nano Production and Micro Analysis has developed a cost effective synthesis and filtration protocol for the production of pure copper nanoparticles for printed electronics.

The development of copper nanoparticles is interesting because copper is a hundred times as cheap as silver. This gives companies an opportunity to make new smart products at a cheaper cost.

Good results with copper nanoparticles
The silver, which most ink manufactures use for printed electronics, consists of microparticles. At while Nano Production and Micro Analysis we make copper of nanoparticles. Nanoparticles make it possible to pack the particles much more compactly, which increases the electrical conductivity.

The copper nanoparticles have already been formulated and tested by the Italian company Chimet S.p.a.:

The first results from Chimet are really good. They show us that the material is just as conducitve as ink based on micro silver, explains Zachary J. Davis, Team Manager for Printed Electronics at DTI.     

From developing to upscaling
Not many in the world are concerned with copper for printed electronics. We have taken the development to the point where we now produce 75-100 grams of nano copper per hour in our flow system. Therefore we are not far from upscaling.  

The goal is to have our own facility where we print nano inks directly on products:
We want to bring the technology to Denmark so that companies can build and print components, for example sensors and batteries, says Zachary J. Davis.

Cooperate with us
If you have an idea for a new product or process or a new way to optimize these you can work with us on a developing project.

Developing projects can be funded through Innovation Fund Denmark or Horizon2020 projects.

We believe that the best solutions are created together with other companies. Therefore, we are happy to help you apply for funding for your developing project.

Just give Zachary Davis a call on +45 7220 2507 or send ham an e-mail on