The technique, called instant inkjet circuits, allows the printing of arbitrary-shaped conductors onto rigid or flexible materials and could advance the prototyping skills of non-technical enthusiasts and novice hackers.
A single-sided wiring pattern for an Arduino micro controller was printed on a transparent sheet of coated PET film.
“We believe there is an opportunity to introduce a new approach to the rapid prototyping of fully custom-printed circuits,” said Gregory Abowd, Regents’ Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech and an investigator in the study. “Unlike existing methods for printing conductive patterns, conductivity in our technique emerges within a few seconds and without the need for special equipment.”
Recent advances in chemically bonding metal particles allowed the researchers to use silver nanoparticle ink to print the circuits and avoid thermal bonding, or sintering, a time-consuming and potentially damaging technique due to the heat. Printing the circuits on resin-coated paper, PET film and glossy photo paper worked best. Researchers also made a list of materials to avoid, such as canvas cloths and magnet sheets.
“Everything we introduced in our research is available in the market and makes it possible for people to try this at home,” said Yoshihiro Kawahara, Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo and the primary investigator who developed the methodology while in Atlanta. “The method can be used to print circuit boards, sensors and antennas with little cost, and it opens up many new opportunities.”
To make the technique possible, researchers optimized commercially available tools and materials including printers, adhesive tape and the silver ink. Designing the circuit itself was accomplished with desktop drawing software, and even a photocopy of a drawing can produce a working circuit.
Once printed, the circuits can be attached to electronic components using conductive double-sided tape or silver epoxy adhesive, allowing full-scale prototyping in mere hours. The homemade circuits might allow tinkerers to quickly prototype crude calculators, thermostat controls, battery chargers or any number of electronic devices.
“Using this technology in the classroom, it would be possible to introduce students to basic electronics principles very cheaply, and they could use a range of electronic components to augment the experience,” said Steve Hodges, a team member from Microsoft Research.
To show the capabilities of the new technique for capacitive touch sensing - the interaction prominent in smartphone interfaces - and the flexibility of the printed circuits, the researchers attached a capacitive ribbon with embedded inkjet-printed circuits into a drinking glass. The capacitive ribbon sensor formed to the contour of the glass and, when connected to a micro controller, was able to measure how much liquid was left in the glass.
The details for replicating the process were presented at the 2013 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2013) in Zurich, Switzerland, Sept. 8-12. The research “Instant Inkjet Circuits: Lab-based Inkjet Printing to Support Rapid Prototyping of UbicComp Devices” won a best paper award at the conference and can be found here: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2493486.
Joshua Preston | EurekAlert!
Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power
14.12.2018 | Purdue University
Studying how unconventional metals behave, with an eye on high-temperature superconductors
13.12.2018 | Princeton University
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy