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Chemistry of 3D Printing, Formulation of Non-Solvent Polyimide Materials - (ENG 1397)

   Faculty of Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

PhD studentship Sponsored by Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI)

Based at the Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM), the University of Nottingham, UK

This 3 year PhD studentship, is based at the world-renowned Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) at The University of Nottingham in partnership with global electronics manufacturer Texas Instruments Incorporated. For further information, please visit .

Project title: Chemistry of 3D Printing, Formulation of Non-Solvent Polyimide Materials

University of Nottingham Supervisors: Prof Derek Irvine and Prof Chris Tuck

As 3D Printing (or Additive Manufacturing) technologies advance and printed electronics (PE) applications continue to mature there is a constant need to utilize more electronically useful materials. Polyimide is one such common electronic material that has proved difficult to utilize, particularly via inkjet printing. It is well known that there is a trade off in printability of an ink and the molecular weight of a polymer chain, being inversely correlated (i.e. higher molecular weight decreases ability to be jetted reliably). In turn this necessitates the dilution of polymers via solvents to where the solids % mass of an ink is prohibitively low. Alternatively, the molecular chain of the polymer can be shortened, but this can then in turn change bulk material properties in a negative manner.

For these reasons, this project is targeting the development of a novel, non-solvent polyimide system that can be ink jetted onto a substrate and react in situ, thus leaving behind a polymer structure that is akin to traditionally manufactured materials. In the semiconductor industry, polyimide is commonly applied to silicon wafers via spin coating technology and then developed via photolithography for fine features. This project seeks to simplify this process by reducing material waste, pattern directly via digital fabrication, and completely eliminate all the overhead associated with photolithography (e.g. optical masks, large/expensive tools). It is expected that this project will develop the polymer chemistry of a non-solvent polyimide system that when printed and cured mimics spin on polyimide bulk material properties, both electrical and mechanical. It is also expected that all benefits that come with AM (e.g. digital fabrication, multi-layering, etc.) will be ensured, thus enabling next generation polyimide structures for future applications.

The successful candidate will:

Receive the training needed for a professional career in Polymer chemistry, Chemical/Material processing, Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing

Receive a full studentship (fees and stipend at UK/EU rates) for 3 years

Work directly with leading academics and industrialists in the USA

Receive Travel and consumable allowance

Funding Notes


Applicants should possess a minimum 2:1 in Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, or a related discipline.

How to apply

Please send your covering letter, CV and academic transcripts to referring to the project title. Please note applications without academic transcripts will not be considered. The successful candidate will be available to start on 1st Oct 2020.

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