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 Creating living spaces for people: The »Fraunhofer CityLaboratory« at BAU 2017
14.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht Reducing Weight through Laser-assisted Material Processing in Automobile Construction
13.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

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...

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

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>