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Manufacture of an Integrated Three-Dimensional Structure Nozzle Plate Using Microinjection Molding for a 1200-dpi Inkjet Printhead

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3 Author(s)
Sheng-Chih Shen ; Dept. of Syst. & Naval Mechatron. Eng., Nat. Cheng Kung Univ., Tainan ; Min-Wen Wang ; Chung-Jui Lee

This paper presents an integrated microtechnology for the fabrication of a 3-D structure nozzle plate for a 1200-dots-per-inch (dpi) inkjet printhead. The 3-D structure nozzle plate contains a fluidic channel, nozzle chamber, and 432 conical nozzles whose taper angle is about 9deg-11deg to vertical. When the integrated 3-D structure nozzle plate is packaged onto the printhead, there is no need for alignment between the nozzle and the ink chamber, as there is when conventional production methods are employed. Therefore, misalignment of the nozzle and ink chamber is avoided, thereby reducing the cost by up to 50%, as well as greatly improving the print quality. This paper demonstrated the integration of excimer laser technology and microinjection molding to fabricate a 3-D structure nozzle plate. Excimer laser technology was used to create the high aspect ratio pattern with a tapered angle structure, and then, high-hardness Ni-Co alloy microelectroforming technology was used to achieve micromold insertion of the nozzle plate. In the microinjection molding, a variotherm control system was utilized for rapid heating to the mold temperature, which must be close to the glass temperature to ensure a good replication of the nozzle plate. The experiment resulted in the fabrication of a 3-D structure nozzle plate 2.7 mm in width and 10.8 mm in length. The total thickness was not more than 80 plusmn2 mum (ink channels, nozzle chamber, and nozzle plate), and the diameter and pitch of the nozzle holes were 25 plusmn2 mum for the outlet, 43 plusmn2 mum for the inlet, 84 plusmn2 mum in pitch, and 30 plusmn2 mum for the ink channel. Using this 3-D structure nozzle plate improved the competitiveness of the inkjet printhead. We have demonstrated the manufacture of the main parts of the 3-D structure nozzle plate for a 1200-dpi printhead; the aforementioned fabrication process yields satisfactory results and can be applied to commercial production.

Published in:

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 1 )