Researchers laser print polymer circuits, usher in age of inexpensive electronics

Nov 17, 2012
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The National Technical University of Athens in Greece has developed a method for potentially ushering in an age of cheaper electronics. The researchers successfully created polymer circuits using laser printing, which eliminates the needs for solvents that can cause more harm than good. So far, the team responsible has printed photovoltaic and biological sensing circuits.

Maria Kandyla of the University of Athens, along with a few other individuals, use the laser printing as a demonstrable alternative to traditional solvent use. The problem with solvents is their potential for damaging the unit, as well as a tendency to concentrate on the outer edge of drying droplets. Laser printing eliminates these possible damaging effects by removing the need for solvents altogether.

Using the laser printing method, solid polymer is applied directly, starting with the initial conducting layer located on a piece of either quartz or glass; this is the donor substrate. A second layer, called the receiving substrate, is placed facing the conducting polymer with a small space between them. The laser is then used through the glass or quartz and to the polymer layer, transferring part of it onto the receiving substrate.

Moving the two substrates around while this process is underway allows researchers to "deposit 2D patterns of any shape." Some of the circuits that have already been created using this method used polyaniline as the conducting polymer. Although promising, there are a couple things that are yet to be seen, including whether the laser changes the composition of the polymer.

[via Technology Review]


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