For a while now scientists have been able to print electronics which have been used in flexible electronics. The idea, known as plastic electronics, uses organic polymers – the same materialyou’ll find in garbage can liners. But scientists from the University of Tokyo have gone one further. Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a team from the institution claim they have developed a technique that could in time lead to the printing ofmaterial with special inkjet printers. "The present work demonstrates the feasibility of employing inkjet technology… for electronic device applications." However, itdemands specialized equipment to print a line two microns wide and a dot just one micron across (as an indicator, your printer probably producers a line 50 microns across). By applying a high voltageto the print head, the scientists were able to create an explosion of one micron drops. These are too big for microprocessors, but almost certainly fine for printing the circuitry for something likeflat-panel monitors. It would certainly be a cheaper alternative to the current technology, which demands expensive clean rooms, the BBC reports. "This technique can be applied for patterning high-purity electrically functional materials without preparing original patterning masks," the team has written. However, theirprototype remains too slow to be used commercially.
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