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Fabrication of Ink Jet Printer Head Components by Through Mask Electrochemical Micromachining

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000108841D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-23
Document File: 2 page(s) / 78K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Datta, M: AUTHOR

Abstract

A novel, high speed and cost-effective technique is disclosed for fabrication of high precision V-shaped nozzles and precise patterning of resistor films using through-mask electrochemical micromachining. The technique has been employed to fabricate nozzle plates and resistor heating elements for ink-jet printer heads.

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Fabrication of Ink Jet Printer Head Components by Through Mask Electrochemical Micromachining

       A novel, high speed and cost-effective technique is
disclosed for fabrication of high precision V-shaped nozzles and
precise patterning of resistor films using through-mask
electrochemical micromachining.  The technique has been employed to
fabricate nozzle plates and resistor heating elements for ink-jet
printer heads.

      Chemical and electrochemical methods of micromachining are
isotropic in nature, such that undercutting of the photoresist mask
occurs. By controlling the extent of micromachining, i.e., the
quantity of charge in electroetching, a desired shape (V shape for
nozzle plate and straight edge for resistor film patterning) can be
obtained.

      Concentrated neutral salt solutions are commonly used as
electrolytes in electrochemical machining of large parts.  In the
present invention, a 4M sodium nitrate solution is used for copper
and a 4M sodium chloride solution for stainless steel samples.
During fabrication of nozzles in copper and stainless steel foils,
two distinctly different types of micromachined features are
observed.  Dissolution below the limiting current yields irregular
shaped nozzles with rough surfaces that exhibit crystallographic
features.  On the other hand, electropolished and perfectly circular
shaped nozzles are obtained upon dissolution at the limiting current
plateau or at a higher voltage (current).  Some cases of unetched or
under-etched nozzles may result due to the presence of inhibiting
layers (traces of photoresist residue, etc.) that lead to delayed
onset of metal dissolution at such openings.  In order to overcome
such difficulties, a pulsating current (PC) is employed.  Extremely
high peak currents/voltage employed in PC enables breakdown of the
inhibiting layers.  Furthermore, the low average current encountered
in PC operation is advantageous to...