Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Printable sensors

The cellphone is switched off but immediately springs into action at the point of a finger. It is not necessary to touch the display.

This touchless control is made possible by a polymer sensor affixed to the cellphone which, like human skin, reacts to the tiniest fluctuations in temperature and differences in pressure and recognizes the finger as it approaches.

The scenario is fictitious at present but could become reality in a few years time thanks to the efforts of the research scientists involved in the EU project 3Plast, which stands for »Printable pyroelectrical and piezoelectrical large area sensor technology«. The companies and institutes involved from industry and research have set themselves the goal of mass producing pressure and temperature sensors which can be cheaply printed onto plastic film and flexibly affixed to a wide range of everyday objects, such as electronic equipment.

The 2.2 million euro funded project is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg. »The sensor consists of pyroelectrical and piezoelectrical polymers which can now be processed in high volumes by screen printing, for example. The sensor is combined with an organic transistor, which strengthens the sensor signal. It's strongest where the finger is,« explains Gerhard Domann, who is in charge of the project. »The special thing about our sensor is that the transistor can also be printed.«

The production of polymer sensors still poses a number of challenges. To produce printable transistors, the insulation materials have to be very thin. The experts at the ISC have, however, succeeded in producing an insulator which is only 100 nanometers thick. The first sensors have already been printed onto film. The research scientists are currently working on optimized transistors which can amplify rapid changes in temperature and pressure.

»By providing everyday objects with information about their environment – for example whether a person is approaching – by means of pressure and temperature sensors, we can create and market new devices that can be controlled just by pointing a finger,« enthuses Domann. The research scientist envisions further applications for the technology in the automotive and construction industries as well as in robotics. »The project comes to an end in January 2011, but we think it will take a few more years before sensors can be printed on large surfaces.«

Gerhard Domann | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Neutrons pave the way to accelerated production of lithium-ion cells
20.03.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Monocrystalline silicon thin film for cost-cutting solar cells with 10-times faster growth rate fabricated
16.03.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>