Televisions have changed dramatically: While bulky TV sets dominated our living rooms until just a few years ago, the screens are now so flat that they can easily be hung on the wall.
A close look at the inside of these devices will reveal fine conductor paths and transistors that supply the electricity needed to switch the pixels on the screen on and off. These circuits are manufactured layer by layer, usually by photolithography. The materials are deposited onto the entire surface of a substrate and covered with photoresist, which is exposed to light at specific points using a mask.
The exposed photoresist alters its chemical properties: It becomes soluble and can be easily removed. The layer to be structured returns to the surface and can be etched away. However, the parts of the layer still covered with photoresist remain intact. One major disadvantage of this process is that a large fraction of the deposited material is not used. A more cost-efficient and resource-saving method is to deposit the material by printing only in places where it will actually be needed later.
Printed electronics already exist in the form of conductor paths and devices made from polymers. However, their electrical properties cannot compete with those of inorganic materials. The charge carriers in the polymers travel more slowly, with the result that a printed RFID tag, for example, will have a shorter transmission range than a conventional one. Moreover, polymers tend to react more sensitively to moisture and UV light. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute of Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB in Erlangen have now commissioned a process line in which electron devices can be printed from inorganic materials using an ink jet similar to those in any office printer. “We use ink made of nanoparticles and add a stabilizer so that the particles can be easily processed and do not clump together,” says IISB group manager Dr. Michael Jank.
The nano ink has passed the first printing tests and Jank hopes that the researchers will be able to print circuits performing simple functions in about a year’s time. “We expect printed products to cost around 50 percent less than silicon-based ones in the case of simple circuits,” he says. “Printed RFID tags should then be cheap enough to be attached to the packaging of low-cost products such as yogurts, where they can then monitor the temperature, and store and transmit data.”
Dr.-Ing. Michael Jank | alfa
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
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20.11.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.11.2017 | Life Sciences