Printing Circuits to Reduce Time and Cost
Ever wanted to build your own electrical circuit, but cannot afford the lithographic technology typically used to fabricate them? Thanks to the efforts of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Tokyo, and Microsoft Research, you may be able to print your circuits for only about $300.
By modifying a commercially available inkjet printer, the researchers were able to print working circuits in just sixty seconds. The circuitry was made from silver nanoparticle ink, which took advantage of recent work in how metal particles chemically bond to avoid thermal bonding. Such thermal bonds could actually damage the circuitry, and would at least add time to the process. As important as the ink though was the medium it was printed onto. The researchers found that resin-coated paper, PET film, and glossy photo paper worked well, and that canvas or magnetic sheets did not.
To prove this approach to printing circuits work, the researchers connected a capacitive ribbon with embedded circuits to a drinking glass. This formed a sensor that could measure how much water was in the glass.
Source: Georgia Institute of Technology