Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Printing plastic circuits stamps patterns in place


When Benjamin in "The Graduate" was told to go into plastics, computers were in their infancy and silicon technology ruled. Now, conducting organic polymers are infiltrating the electronics sphere and the watchword is once again plastics, according to Penn State researchers.

"For plastic circuits we cannot use the old processing," says Dr. Qing Wang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering. "Photolithography and silicon technologies require harsh environments and plastics cannot hold up to them."

Wang, working with Ziqi Liang and Kun Li, graduate students in materials science and engineering, are looking into novel processing methods for production of organic conducting polymer circuits. One method that is low cost, easy to do, fast and adaptable to large areas and non-flat surfaces, is micro contact printing.

"We use conducting polymers that are functionalized," Wang told attendees today (Sept. 9) at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New York. "They have functional groups attached that allow them to be soluble and to attach to the surface." The researchers used poly (p-phenylene vinylene), PPV, which was modified by adding alkyoxy side chains and amino end groups. Altering the polymer allows it to dissolve in a variety of organic solvents. The amines act as reaction points where the polymer can attach to another chemical.

Attachment is important as most polymers are slippery and do not want to adhere to surfaces. In conventional ink printing, ink is held onto the paper by surface interactions, but not by chemical reactions. When printing a plastic electronic device, surface interactions are not strong enough to hold the polymer "ink" onto the surface.

Wang used a gold substrate onto which an organic acid, 16-mercaptohexadecanoic acid, was placed in a self-assembled monolayer. This single layer of molecules of MHA provides specific chemical groups to which the amino end groups of the polymer can attach.

In conventional printing, ink is placed on the plate and then the ink and paper are brought together for a very short time during which the wet ink is transferred to the paper. When printing polymers on organic acid coated gold, the process is different. The researchers used a pliable stamp of the submicron pattern they wish to transfer. They then applied the polymer "ink" to the stamp surface and dried it. The stamp and the substrate are held in contact for 30 minutes while the polymer transfers to the substrate.

Because the stamp is pliable, this printing method is applicable to curved surfaces. A wide variety of opto-electric devices are possible, including light-emitting diodes, field effect transistors, lasers, solar cells and chemical and biological sensors.

Wang has investigated the resulting patterns using a variety of macroscopic techniques to ensure that the pattern created on the surface is continuous and usable. Micro contact printing does create patterns with some defects, but the researchers believe that the resultant product is usable.

"Micro-printed patterns of conducting polymer need to be used in applications where some defects can be tolerated," says Wang.

"Although we do optimize the printed pattern as much as possible."

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh/Penn State Center for Optical Technologies supported this work.

A’ndrea Elyse Messer | Penn State
Further information:

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>