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Thin Film Process to Fabricate a Conformable Thermal Printhead to Print on Most Types of Paper

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000039265D
Original Publication Date: 1987-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 57K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Lane, R: AUTHOR

Abstract

Using dry etching of a polyester plastic substrate, to allow each heater to sit atop a pedestal, gives compliance to a thermal printer sufficient for printing on rough paper. Thermal print heads fabricated on ridges of substrates print only on the very smoothest papers; this design, with the heater elements sitting on pedestals, allows each element to conform to the surface below it. Fig. 1 shows the substrate 1 for both the cable and print head, which is 3- to 5-mil polyester onto which is deposited 4 to 6 microns of copper. This film 2 of copper forms both the electrical leads which connect the heaters to the plug connector pads and a heat conductor, taking the excess heat away from below the heaters. The area 3, where the heaters will be, has to be masked so as not to deposit any copper there.

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Thin Film Process to Fabricate a Conformable Thermal Printhead to Print on Most Types of Paper

Using dry etching of a polyester plastic substrate, to allow each heater to sit atop a pedestal, gives compliance to a thermal printer sufficient for printing on rough paper. Thermal print heads fabricated on ridges of substrates print only on the very smoothest papers; this design, with the heater elements sitting on pedestals, allows each element to conform to the surface below it. Fig. 1 shows the substrate 1 for both the cable and print head, which is 3- to 5-mil polyester onto which is deposited 4 to 6 microns of copper. This film 2 of copper forms both the electrical leads which connect the heaters to the plug connector pads and a heat conductor, taking the excess heat away from below the heaters. The area 3, where the heaters will be, has to be masked so as not to deposit any copper there. The copper is etched to form the mask for the etching of the trenches in the plastic substrate; also, the lead pattern is etched at this time. Next, a glazing insulator 4 is deposited over the area 3 where the copper is omitted. This acts to lift the heater above the surrounding surfaces and to protect the substrate during dry etching. Fig. 2, at right angles to Fig. 1, shows the substrate etched between

(Image Omitted)

the copper in a plasma etcher. The copper acts as a mask while the substrate is being etched. Fig. 3 shows the heater element 5 deposited on top of the glaze 4 ...