Have a question about high-intensity light curing? Check these answers.
High-intensity light curing is the high-temperature thermal processing of a thin film using pulsed light from a flashlamp.
The emission from the PulseForge® is broadband ranging from approximately 200nm to 1500nm. Depending on the intensity of the discharge in the lamps, the peak intensity ranges from 400nm to 600nm. Higher intensity discharges are achieved with higher driving voltage. The figure below shows that as the driving voltage increases, the power emitted in all bands increases and the peak intensity shifts slightly to shorter wavelengths.
Please refer to SimPulse® and the technical data sheet of your ink and substrate. You can design the stack you have printed in SimPulse® (material, substrate and thickness of each), and adjust the pulse parameters to meet or exceed the required curing temperature of the ink while maintaining a safe operating temperature for the substrate.
You should decrease the voltage and/or pulse time of your parameters. The pulse is strong or long enough to maintain a high temperature in the ink such that it is transferred to the substrate within the timescale of the experiment. Please refer to Simpulse® to design your stack, input the dimensions and subsequently adjust pulse parameters to ensure adequate heating of the ink while maintaining the integrity of the substrate.
This does not affect performance output or uniformity. This ‘white frosting’ has been examined by NovaCentrix personnel and through bolometry testing at all points of lamp output, no decrease in lamp intensity was observed. However, if you observe the onset of brown staining on the flash lamp, then the intensity of the output will decrease. This browning is due to the sputtering of the electrode materials in the lamp and will prevent light from getting through the glass. At this point, the lamp should be replaced.
You should never open the lamp housing while the tool is operating. If you are encountering an issue with sample processing, press ‘Stop’ on the GUI. If you open the hood while the tool is operating, then the tool will immediately and automatically shut down and be rendered safe such that the user will not encounter any light exposure. We recommend shutting down the tool properly before opening the hood.
You could break the lamp or irreparably damage the lamp driver. Currently, the tool prohibits the user from setting conditions that operate past 30% lamp limit, and thus the power delivery is restricted. This safety protocol is designed into the PulseForge software revision YYY and newer. If you operate the tool at the limits of the allowed power usage, you will decrease the flash lamp lifetime. For example, if you operate the tool at 10% lamp limit or below, you will likely get in excess of 4 million shots. However, if you operate the tool at the limit of 30%, you will likely get less than 30 thousand shots before the lamp must be replaced.
Disclaimer: Important updates to the safety limits of PulseForge® tools are incorporated into operating software, please contact NovaCentrix for the latest free software upgrades.
You can pre-dry your samples in an oven with temperature not exceeding that of the stability of the substrate, or you can pre-dry your samples using IR drying. However, if your ink is still wet, you can modify the photonic pulses of the PulseForge® tool to ramp up the temperature more gently initially to drive off the remaining solvent, and subsequently increase to a point that will sinter the remaining particles. You can design this pulse using the SimPulse® simulation package whereby initial heating can be set to that higher than the boiling point of the solvent, but lower than the sintering temperature of the particles. This will ensure that all solvent is driven off before particles begin to sinter and prevent violent solvent escape from a metal film which will damage the surface.
Yes, you can cure 3-Dimensional objects with the Pulseforge® depending on the depth of the print, the angle from the lamp output, and the stability of the ink. The exposure uniformity may be reduced because of variations in distance from the focal point of the lamps. When the material to be processed is in excess of 5mm – 10mm below the lamp window, decreased uniformity may cause spotty or uneven curing depending on the materials being used and the exact details of the dimensions. The ideal curing position is in the region from 5mm – 10mm below the lamp window.
The R&D PulseForge® tools (1200 and 1300) can process areas of up to 150 mm wide x 375 mm long, and up to 60 mm height. The sample table can be raised or lowered to any position 0 mm to 60 mm away from the lamp. Samples as large as 410mm x 480mm can be physically accommodated on the processing tray.
The length and width of samples processed by the production models of PulseForge® (3200 and 3300) are not restricted as the width of the processing area can be extended with more lamps, and the length is unlimited due to the pulse parameter programming controls. Production tools are customizable and can be integrated into a customer’s manufacturing line in a wide variety of product handling formats.
No, tools are compatible with other functional inks as well as NovaCentrix Metalon® inks.
Print and process methods will be based on your application and material requirements. If the printed ink has high water or solvent content, a pre-IR dry module can help speed processing. The digitally controlled pulse conditions may be tailored to evaporate water and solvent prior to sintering/annealing.
Yes, NovaCentrix offers modular equipment configurations which can be integrated (or retrofitted) into existing equipment.
All NovaCentrix flash lamps are proprietary designed xenon gas-filled flash lamps.
Yes, there are machine differences.
Lamp life is based on the particular process that the lamp is required to perform. The typical process is 10e6 flashes or higher.
We have over 165 systems installed worldwide in large company/high volume manufacturing factories, public and private universities, large company R/D centers, and various technical centers.