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Inkjet printing of UHF antennas on corrugated cardboards for packaging applications

: Sowade, E.; Göthel, F.; Zichner, R.; Baumann, R.R.


Applied surface science 332 (2015), S.500-506
ISSN: 0169-4332
European Commission EC
FP7-ICT; 287682; TDK4PE
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

In this study, a method based on inkjet printing has been established to develop UHF antennas on a corrugated cardboard for packaging applications. The use of such a standardized, paper-based packaging substrate as material for printing electronics is challenging in terms of its high surface roughness and high ink absorption rate, especially when depositing very thin films with inkjet printing technology. However, we could obtain well-defined silver layers on the cardboard substrates due to a primer layer approach. The primer layer is based on a UV-curable ink formulation and deposited as well as the silver ink with inkjet printing technology. Industrial relevant printheads were chosen for the deposition of the materials. The usage of inkjet printing allows highest flexibility in terms of pattern design. The primer layer was proven to optimize the surface characteristics of the substrate, mainly reducing the surface roughness and water absorptiveness. Thanks to the primer layer approach, ultra-high-frequency (UHF) radio-frequency identification (RFID) antennas were deposited by inkjet printing on the corrugated cardboards. Along with the characterization and interpretation of electrical properties of the established conductive antenna patterns, the performance of the printed antennas were analyzed in detail by measuring the scattering parameter S-11 and the antenna gain.