An inkjet printing process for depositing palladium (Pd) thin films from a highly loaded ink (>14 wt%) is reported. The viscosity and surface tension of a Pd-organic precursor solution is adjusted using toluene to form a printable and stable ink. A two-step thermolysis process is developed to convert the printed ink to continuous and uniform Pd films with good adhesion to different substrates. Using only one printing pass, a low electrical resistivity of 2.6 μΩ m of the Pd film is obtained. To demonstrate the electrochemical pH sensing application, the surfaces of the printed Pd films are oxidized for ion-to-electron transduction and the underlying layer is left for electron conduction. Then, solid-state reference electrodes are integrated beside the bifunctional Pd electrodes by inkjet printing. These potentiometric sensors have sensitivities of 60.6 ± 0.1 and 57 ± 0.6 mV pH-1 on glass and polyimide substrates, and short response times of 11 and 6 s, respectively. Also, accurate pH values of real water samples are obtained by using the printed sensors with a low-cost multimeter. These results indicate that the facile and cost-effective inkjet printing and integration techniques may be applied in fabricating future electrochemical monitoring systems for environmental parameters and human health conditions.
Qin, Yiheng, Arif U. Alam, Matiar M. R. Howlader, Nan-Xing Hu, M. Jamal Deen
Adv. Funct. Mater.