The use of arc-erosion as a patterning technique for transparent conductive materials
Within the framework of cost-effective patterning processes a novel technique that saves photolithographic processing steps, easily scalable to wide area production, is proposed. It consists of a tip-probe, which is biased with respect to a conductive substrate and slides on it, keeping contact with the material. The sliding tip leaves an insulating path (which currently is as narrow as 30 ¿m) across the material, which enables the drawing of tracks and pads electrically insulated from the surroundings. This ablation method, called arc-erosion, requires an experimental set up that had to be customized for this purpose and is described. Upon instrumental monitoring, a brief proposal of the physics below this process is also presented. As a result an optimal control of the patterning process has been acquired. The system has been used on different substrates, including indium tin oxide either on glass or on polyethylene terephtalate, as well as alloys like Au/Cr, and Al. The influence of conditions such as tip speed and applied voltage is discussed.