Influence of etching solvent evaporation on the size of micro-via holes in PVP thin films

Via holes are a necessary component in traditional PCBs and IC interconnections. Such structures will also be required in organic electronics to achieve vertical communication between multiple layers. Inkjet printing has demonstrated its applicability in both hole creation and for other pattern generation requirements in various polymeric layers. However, the technique has not been systematically investigated. This paper is focused on a study of the effect of solvent evaporation rate on the size of inkjet-etched via holes for organic electronics, which is part of a more extensive investigation and evaluation of inkjet etching as a via hole fabrication technique. In this work, holes were etched in thin layers of poly(4-vinyl phenol) (PVP), which is a potential dielectric material for organic electronic structures. Ethanol, isobutanol and ethylene glycol were used as the etchants in order to study the effect of solvent boiling point and vapour pressure on the size evolution of via holes with the total number and the frequency of the solvent drops used to dissolve them. Isobutanol and ethylene glycol have higher boiling points than ethanol, leading to slower evaporation, which is believed to allow the dissolved polymer to flow backwards to the central area before complete solvent evaporation, resulting in hole refill. However it will be shown that applying temperatures higher than room temperature can accelerate solvent evaporation and eliminate the refill issue.