Laser-Induced Forward Transfer from Thin Liquid Films

March Meeting 2010

Time-resolved image sequence of the laser-induced forward transfer of an ink from a thin liquid film

Matthew Brown
Nicholas T. Kattamis
Craig B. Arnold

Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey

Laser-Induced Forward Transfer from Thin Liquid Films

Laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) is a high-resolution, direct-write technique capable of printing a wide array of complex materials for the fabrication of electronic devices, electrochemical energy storage and conversion systems, organic electronics for lighting and displays, biological and chemical sensors, and even living cells for tissue engineering applications.

In the LIFT process, a transparent support coated with a thin layer of ink material acts as a donor substrate and is placed in proximity above a receiving substrate. A pulsed laser is focused into the ink to initiate the ejection of a small amount of material onto a confined region of the receiver substrate. Motion of the donor and receiver substrates between successive laser shots allows precise placement of material and printing of complex patterns.

A time-resolved image sequence is shown for a laser transfer from a thin film of NMP (viewed from the side). To freeze the motion, the images are strobed with a 25 ns pulsed plasma lamp at various delays after the laser hits the ink (Δτ = 0.5, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 μs). The surrounding air appears light blue while the donor substrate (top) and ejected ink appear darker. The receiver substrate is not shown. The images show the formation of a long coherent jet that eventually detaches and collapses into spherical droplets approximately 15 μm in diameter.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation.


[1] Arnold, C.B., P. Serra, and A. Pique, Laser direct-write techniques for printing of complex materials. MRS Bulletin, 2007. 32(1): p. 23-31.

[2] Kattamis, N.T., et al., Laser direct write printing of sensitive and robust light emitting organic molecules. Applied Physics Letters, 2009. 94(10): p. 103306.

[3] Kattamis, N.T., et al., Thick film laser induced forward transfer for deposition of thermally and mechanically sensitive materials. Applied Physics Letters, 2007. 91 (17).

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Reporters may freely use this image as long as they include the following credit: "Image courtesy of M.Brown/Princeton University".

For further information, contact:
Jason Bardi
(301) 209-3091