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United Kingdom Hardware Technology Science

UK University Creates First Inkjet-Printed Graphene Circuit 60

MrSeb writes with this ExtremeTech excerpt aimed at the graphene enthusiasts out there: "You can add another crazy characteristic to graphene's ever-expanding list of 'wonder material' properties: It can now be used to create flexible, transparent thin-film transistors. ... using an inkjet printer. The discovery comes from researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK, who were trying to ameliorate the lackluster performance of existing inkjet-printed electronics. It's already possible to print standard CMOS transistors using different ferroelectric polymer inks, but the resultant circuit is so slow that it can't actually function as a computer. If graphene could replace or augment the interconnects or transistors, these circuits would be a lot faster — and that's what these Cambridge engineers have done. Furthermore, if you didn't think that was cool enough, the graphene-based ink that they've developed is transparent, too."
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UK University Creates First Inkjet-Printed Graphene Circuit

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  • by reiisi ( 1211052 ) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:10AM (#38173578) Homepage

    Have you ever tried troubleshooting a microprocessor off the assembly line?

    I think you're thinking in terms of replacing the circuit board etching kits for hobbiests. Sure, transparency would put a minor kink in that use, but not a show stopper.

    (And I'm sure we can both think of cool things to do with the transparency.)

    It would be interesting to know how much various pigments interferred with the electrical properties, of course. Home printing of circuit boards (circuit papers?) would definitely make a lot of projects easier, particularly when the active components can also be printed on, perhaps in the same pass.

    Lo-res LSI.

  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:13AM (#38174222)

    What will be interesting, however, is what people do with this.

    Probably nothing. Inkjets tend to have their jets clog, which in turn leads to imperfections which render the circuit inoperative. While this can in part be helped by printing larger features, the resolution is already pretty low, and that makes the effective resolution - and thus the amount of components you can fit on a paper - even lower.

    In short, in all but the most specialized applications it's better to just get a regular chip.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken