Inkjet Printing of Flexible Electronics for Body-Worn Medical Devices
Flexible electronics have the potential to revolutionize medicine, and they’ve already shown a lot of promise though the technology is still in an early development. In order to bring it to the next stage, easy and cheap methods for printing flexible electronic circuits are a necessity. Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new inkjet printing technique that can print elastic and stretchable wires onto different kinds of materials at a low cost and at high speed.
The team used nanoparticles of gallium-indium that were dispersed through a liquid solvent using ultrasound. The solution can be run through an inkjet printer, the metal particles being small enough to pass through the nozzles. Once the solvent dries, the metal nanoparticles stay on the surface they were printed on, creating a conducting wire that will stretch and flex along with the material its attached to.
From the study abstract in Advanced Materials:
Liquid metal nanoparticles that are mechanically sintered at and below room temperature are introduced. This material can be sintered globally on large areas of entire deposits or locally to create liquid traces within deposits. The metallic nanoparticles are fabricated by dispersing a liquid metal in a carrier solvent via sonication. The resulting dispersion is compatible with inkjet printing, a process not applicable to the bulk liquid metal in air.
Study in Advanced Materials: Mechanically Sintered Gallium–Indium Nanoparticles…