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Impedance and resistance of carbon ink during cure

Anthony Samano (School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK)
Yanmeng Xu (School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK)
David Harrison (School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK)
Chris Hunt (National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, UK)
Martin Wickham (National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, UK)
Owen Thomas (National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, UK)

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 1 August 2016




The resistivity of cured conductive ink films are dependent on a wide range of process parameters. An early indication of the resistivity that is likely to result following curing can enable these parameters to be optimised and, therefore, improve product quality. This paper aims to report on the use of alternating current (AC) impedance measurement techniques on curing printed ink films as a means of assessing the resistivity likely to be attained following the curing process.


Impedance measurements (100 Hz-10 MHz) were performed on curing conductive carbon ink films printed on polyethylene terephthalate substrates during convective heat curing. A jig was designed to incorporate the test structure in an convection oven such that the effect of cure on the structure impedance could be investigated.


The initial impedance was found to decrease with an increase in the measurement frequency. As the ink films were cured, the impedance magnitude across the 100 Hz-10 MHz range converged with the direct current (DC) resistance value. For a given ink, the ratio of initial AC impedance at 10 MHz to final cured resistance was found to be consistent, thus giving a method where final conductivity can be estimated before cure.


Data from printed ink resistance measurements are required to ensure the optimal conductivity of printed devices. However, after the printed structures are fabricated and cured, it is too late to optimise process parameters, leading to significant wastage. AC impedance measurement can give an indication of the final cured resistivity whilst the structure is freshly printed and still in its curing phase, enabling the printing process parameters to be adjusted to improve the resistivity of subsequently printed devices. Measuring AC impedance of printed ink structures in a production environment can, therefore, improve output.



Samano, A., Xu, Y., Harrison, D., Hunt, C., Wickham, M. and Thomas, O. (2016), "Impedance and resistance of carbon ink during cure", Circuit World, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 117-126.



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