One part of a future world of inexpensive electronics with displays printed on paper or paper-y things is manufacturing processes which work to create large print runs at speed. gizmag reports this "Breakthrough in printed electronics":
The circuits were printed at a printing speed of up to 0.8 metres per second which although slow for printing, is a new dimension of production speed for electronics. Millionfold print runs will become possible. The polymer printing method is based on especially developed printing methods i.e. polymer molecules that are either conductive, semiconductive or isolating are accurately printed in ultrathin layers, one above the other. These polymers can be processed similar to ink. Compared to traditional printing, however, the demands on precision as well as on the chemical characteristics of the printing inks are considerably higher. A single mistake in printing will immediately lead to malfunctions of the printed circuit.
A switching frequency of 1 Hz was achieved with the used structural resolution of 100 µm. Prof. Dr. Arved Hübler, head of the Institute for Print and Media Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology whose research team already introduced the first mass printed single transistor in 2003, explains: "We have successfully met a great challenge in this project because the printing of electronics put completely new demands on materials, methods and machines different from those known from traditional printing.
The researchers at the Institute for Print and Media Technology have realised new developments in mechanical engineering and process technology in order to meet the very high demands of electronic circuits on printing characteristics."
The project was coordinated by BASF Future Business and included researchers from BASF, Lucent Technologies Bell Labs, printed systems GmbH in Chemnitz as well as the Institute for Print and Media Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology.
Photo: TU-Chemnitz via idw.