High quality and affordable inkjet inks for the electronics industry
Precious metal nanoparticles form the material basis of conductive inkjet inks in printed electronics. Their quality is crucial for the quality of industrially used inks. However, the shape and size of the nanoparticles in the inks can vary from batch to batch, as the production of nanoparticles is difficult to control. The quality of the currently available inks varies accordingly. This is where the four young scientists led by NaPaGen project manager Nadja Lumme start: "We have moved the synthesis of nanoparticles from a classic batch process in which chemicals are manually stirred together into an automated and continuously operating system. This allows us to influence the synthesis and control the properties of the nanoparticles. The innovative production system also improves the quality of nanoparticles. They become reproducible and production costs can be saved by automating the closed system. This combination results in high-quality nanoparticle suspensions and inks at the customer’s request."
Application in wearables, smart systems as well as in vehicle and aircraft construction
The market for printed electronics has grown enormously in recent years and is becoming increasingly complex. It now includes smart systems, wearables, mobility and entertainment industries. IDTechEx predicts the printed sensor market alone to be worth 4.5 billion USD by 2030. Many small and large companies are taking the plunge into printing conductor tracks and the like to improve existing applications or to generate new ones. The more sustainable use of materials will also play an important role in the industry in the future.
Interdisciplinary EXIST research transfer brings together young scientists from four courses
The NaPaGen team led by Nadja Lumme is interdisciplinary. The alumna of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg studied applied natural sciences until 2016 and, as part of a state innovation grant, did her research in the field of nanoparticle synthesis at the Institute of Electronic and Sensor Materials. The other three founders also completed their master's degree at TU Freiberg. F. Güth completed his master's degree in electronics and sensor materials in 2014, Bedia Jüttner graduated with a master's degree in business administration in 2015, and Maik Gerwig studied chemistry until 2014, before successfully defending his doctoral thesis last year.
It is no coincidence that the budding startup should also be based in Freiberg. "We appreciate the science location. As a small yet excellent university, the paths between students, doctoral candidates, postdocs and professors are short and direct. Over the years, a great network has emerged that ultimately brought the four of us from different areas together. Of course, it is primarily thanks to our studies at TU Bergakademie Freiberg primarily for our specialist knowledge, without which we would not be able to start a spin-off in such a demanding scientific playground," says Nadja Lumme.
The start-up will be financed until September 2022 as part of an EXIST grant from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The start-up network SAXEED of TU Bergakademie Freiberg supports and accompanies the founders from the moment the application was submitted over the entire duration of the project with weekly meetings, a structured workshop program and step-by-step pitch days with experts’ feedback.