The research in this project aims to investigate the basic physics behind the electric-field driven ink meniscus to aid in the development of new E-jet printhead designs and printing approaches to overcome the substrate limitation. Some of the main challenges in e-jet printing addressed in this project are the low throughput due to challenges with multi-nozzle printing accuracy, lack of integrated sensing and control, and substrate constraints due to process sensitivity to offset height variations.
Modeling and Control of E-Jet Printing as a Repetitive Process
Electrohydrodynamic jet (e-jet) printing is a micro-/nano-scale additive manufacturing process. During builds, a voltage source is used to induce ink ejections that result in picoliter-sized droplets. Because of the time and length scales over which e-jet operates, and the complex physics which govern it, real-time model-based control is infeasible. In order to enable methods for improving printing performance, models which are capable of describing system trajectories holistically, while remaining useful for control design, are needed. For control, a trial-to-trial paradigm can be used to circumvent the obstacles posed by delayed or low-resolution sensing. This project aims to develop hybrid models of the E-jet printing process, and repetitive process control methods to leverage those models, to improve printing repeatability and accuracy.