Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New hybrid inks permit printed, flexible electronics without sintering


Research scientists at INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials have combined the benefits of organic and inorganic electronic materials in a new type of hybrid inks. This allows electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen, for example.

The electronics of the future will be printed. Flexible circuits can be produced inexpensively on foil or paper using printing processes and permit futuristic designs with curved diodes or input elements. This requires printable electronic materials that can be printed and retain a high level of conductivity during usage in spite of their curved surfaces.

New hybrid inks permit printed, flexible electronics without sintering.

Copyright: INM

Some tried and tested materials include organic, conductive polymers and nanoparticles made of conductive oxides (TCOs). Research scientists at INM – Leibniz-Institute for New Materials have now combined the benefits of organic and inorganic electronic materials in a new type of hybrid inks. This allows electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen, for example.

The developers will be demonstrating their results and the possibilities they offer at stand B46 in hall 2 at this year's Hanover Trade Fair as part of the leading trade show Research & Technology which takes place from 25th to 29th April.

To create their hybrid inks, the research scientists coated nanoparticles made of metals with organic, conductive polymers and suspended them in mixtures of water and alcohol. These suspensions can be applied directly on paper or foil using a pen and they dry without any further processing to form electrical circuits.

“Electrically conductive polymers are used in OLEDs, for example, which can also be manufactured on flexible substrates,” explains Tobias Kraus, Head of the research group Structure Formation at INM. “The combination of metal and nano-particles that we introduce here combines mechanical flexibility with the robustness of a metal and increases the electrical conductivity”.

The developers combine the organic polymers with gold or silver nanoparticles. The organic compounds have three functions: “On the one hand, the compounds serve as ligands, ensuring that the nanoparticles remain suspended in the liquid mixture; any agglomeration of particles would have a negative effect on the printing process. Simultaneously, the organic ligands ensure that the nanoparticles have a good arrangement when drying.

Ultimately, the organic compounds act as ´hinges´: if the material is bent, they maintain the electrical conductivity. In a layer of metal particles without the polymer sheath the electrical conductivity would quickly be lost when the material is bent,” the material scientist Kraus continues. Due to the combination of both materials, when bent, the electrical conductivity is greater all in all than in a layer that is made purely of conductive polymer or a layer made purely of metal nanoparticles.

“Metal nanoparticles with ligands are already printed to form electronics today,” explains the physical chemist Kraus, adding that the shells mostly had to be removed by a sintering process because, while on the one hand they control the arrangement of the nanoparticles, on the other hand, they are not conductive.

He added that this was difficult in the case of carrier materials that are sensitive to temperature such as paper or polymer films since these would be damaged during the sintering process. Kraus summarizes the results of his research, saying, “Our new hybrid inks are conductive as soon as they have dried as well as being particularly mechanically flexible and they do not require sintering”.

Original publication:
B. Reiser, L. González-García, I. Kanelidis, J. H. M. Maurera, T. Kraus; Gold nanorods with conjugated polymer ligands: sintering-free conductive inks for printed electronics; Chem. Sci., 2016; DOI: 10.1039/C6SC00142D

Your expert at INM:
Dr. Tobias Kraus
INM – Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien
Leiter Strukturbildung
Stellv. Leiter InnovationsZentrum INM
Tel: +49 681-9300-389

INM conducts research and development to create new materials – for today, tomorrow and beyond. Chemists, physicists, biologists, materials scientists and engineers team up to focus on these essential questions: Which material properties are new, how can they be investigated and how can they be tailored for industrial applications in the future? Four research thrusts determine the current developments at INM: New materials for energy application, new concepts for medical surfaces, new surface materials for tribological systems and nano safety and nano bio. Research at INM is performed in three fields: Nanocomposite Technology, Interface Materials, and Bio Interfaces.
INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials, situated in Saarbrücken, is an internationally leading centre for materials research. It is an institute of the Leibniz Association and has about 220 employees.

Weitere Informationen:

Dr. Carola Jung | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Development and Fast Analysis of 3D Printed HF Components
19.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Hochfrequenzphysik und Radartechnik FHR

nachricht Photovoltaics: easy implementation thanks to modern printing techniques
14.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

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

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

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

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>