Kapton polyimide films are one of the most commonly used flexible and robust substrates for flexible electronic devices due to their excellent thermal, chemical, mechanical, and electrical properties. However, such films feature an inert and highly hydrophobic surface that inhibits the deposition of functional materials with water-based fluids (solutions, suspensions, inkjet inks, etc.), which raise the need for their surface modification to reduce their inherent surface inertness and/or hydrophobicity in order to allow for the fabrication of electronic devices on the substrates. Traditional Kapton surface modification approaches use harsh conditions that not only cause environmental and safety problems but also compromise the structural integrity and the properties of the substrates. This chapter focuses on two recently-developed mild and environmentally friendly wet chemical approaches for surface modification of Kapton HN films. Unlike the traditional methods that target the polyimide matrix of Kapton films, these two methods target the slip additive embedded in the polyimide matrix. The surface modified Kapton films resulted from these two methods allowed for not only great printability of both water- and organic solvent-based inks (thus facilitating the full-inkjet-printing of entire flexible electronic devices) but also strong adhesion between the inkjet-printed traces and the substrate films.
Part of the book: Flexible Electronics