Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Chemistry and Biochemistry


Flexible electronics;Light-emitting paper;Paper-based electronics;Porosity;Silver nanowires;Wicking Dynamics


Tricia Carmichael



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


With the Internet of Things (IoT) rapid expansion the use of printed electronics that can be easily integrated into everyday life is gaining traction. These devices often use plastics as a substrate due to their flexibility; however, they are not biodegradable and contribute to our growing electronic waste (e-waste) problem. A greener alternative that is sought after is paper. Paper is biodegradable, flexible, and already familiar to many printing processes. Though paper appears smooth its surface is rough due to being composed of cellulose fibers which create pores. In the printed electronics (PE) industry, these pores are typically seen as a challenge, whereas we view this as an opportunity to learn more about how ink prints onto paper. Our work explores the wicking dynamics of silver nanowire (AgNW) ink into paper and how modifying the pore size can be taken advantage of for printing. Chapter 2 describes the ability to select the optimal materials for printing electronic devices on paper by considering the desired performance for a specific application. AgNWs are highly sought after for printing functional inks for electronics because their entanglement offers inherent flexibility. They come in various aspect ratios and can be found in different concentrations of solutions. Paper comes in various pore sizes which can influence the conductivity and resolution of a functional ink. Investigating the interaction of the ink and substrate together, we show how the AgNW ink dimensions can be matched with the paper pore size. This chapter serves as a tool to help determine which parameters should be chosen based on the intended result for a printed device. Chapter 3 expands on the findings of Chapter 2 by understanding that pore size has an effect on how inks penetrate the paper. With this knowledge, modifying the pore size through Debossed Contact Printing (DCP) allows for a patterned paper substrate. Debossing causes the pores to collapse creating indents in the paper that act as boundaries where ink is not able to wick through. Printing a conductive ink wherein the ink wets only the untouched pores creates a functional substrate. We then show that this can be used as a functional base to make a multilayer light-emitting paper device.

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