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Graphene ink-jet printing targets flexible electronics

Posted: 05 Dec 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ink-jet printing? graphene? N-methylpyrrolidone?

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge has announced the viability of graphene ink for manufacturing flexible and transparent electronics. According to them, the ink-jet printing of graphene will result in the development of low-cost computing devices.

The ink-jet printing of semiconducting polymer materials has been used for large-area production of transistors, displays, photovoltaic devices and OLEDs. However, the electron mobilities of these materials are still much lower than standard silicon technology. The use of metal oxides and carbon nanotubes has been proposed to improve this but it usually comes at the cost of complexity in terms of adding stabilizer processes. In comparison, graphene is a 2D form of carbon in a single molecular layer that is believed to be the world's strongest and most conductive material.

The research team, led by Andrea Ferrari, made the ink by removing microscopic flakes from a block of graphite and suspending them in N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP). The use of NMP minimizes the 'coffee mug ring' effect that occurs when some solvents evaporate. The team was able to print structures down to 90nm line widths and below. The liquid-phase exfoliation (LFE) graphene ink is described as a low-cost way to print thin-film transistors for flexible and transparent electronics, noted the researchers.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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