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Researchers develop cost-efficient inkjet-based circuits

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Microsoft Research? inkjet printer? electrical circuit?

A team of researchers from Georgia Tech, the University of Tokyo and Microsoft Research has developed a method to rapidly and cheaply make electrical circuits by printing them with commodity inkjet printers and off-the-shelf materials. According to them, for about $300 in equipment costs, anyone can produce working electrical circuits in the 60 seconds it takes to print them.

Silver nanoparticle ink is injected into an empty cartridge and used in conjunction with an off-the-shelf inkjet printer to enable 'instant inkjet circuit' prototyping.

The technique, called instant inkjet circuits, allows the printing of arbitrary-shaped conductors onto rigid or flexible materials and could advance the prototyping skills of non-technical enthusiasts and novice hackers.

"We believe there is an opportunity to introduce a new approach to the rapid prototyping of fully custom-printed circuits," said Gregory Abowd, Regents' Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech and an investigator in the study. "Unlike existing methods for printing conductive patterns, conductivity in our technique emerges within a few seconds and without the need for special equipment."

Researchers develop cost-efficient inkjet-based circuits

Recent advances in chemically bonding metal particles allowed the researchers to use silver nanoparticle ink to print the circuits and avoid thermal bonding, or sintering, a time-consuming and potentially damaging technique due to the heat. Printing the circuits on resin-coated paper, PET film and glossy photo paper worked best. Researchers also made a list of materials to avoid, such as canvas cloths and magnet sheets.


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