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Your electronic equipment maybe printed by inkjet printer in the near future

Date: 2016-12-16
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Flexible electronic devices made from organic materials have always been a source of hope ,and would be ideal if they could be made cheaply and quickly using printing methods.

你未来用的电子设备可能是用喷墨打印机打出来的

Imagine that your future smartwatch and heart monitoring device will be printed by an inkjet printer .Recently, researchers have taken a new step toward printing inexpensive,reliable transistor arrays and have done some basic calculations with them. Transistor is a key element of modern electronic technology,and this study may one day lead us into an era of organic flexible consumer electronics .

Unlike conventional silicon, the new circuit will be made of organic matter,which is a carbon-based compound.Althought there has been a team that has previously printed and assembled organic electronic components in conjunction with ink-jet printers throughout the manufacturing process."I do not know that there are other more than two layers of equipment that are built on inkjet printers,"said Ananth Dodabalapur,an electronics engineer at the University of Texas at Austin."This is a good demonstration."He himself was not involved in the study.

The new commercial electronics must be small and durable and suitble for mass production. Almost all mass-produced devices on the market today are based on microchips made of silicon ,on which manufactures etch smaller and smaller transistors,which are actually electronic switches used to form computer logic.

But the silicon chip has some advantages.Silicon chips are hard and therefore difficult to make flexible silicon-based circuits.Many people think that made of organic materials,flexible wearable electronic components may develop new applications of electronic components.For example, flexible electronic components can collect critical medical data such as the degree of atherosclerosis.This can help predict a heart attack and can also be used to warn of possible epilepsy by monitoring brain waves.

Sungjune Jung,an electronics engineer from Pohang Univerity of Science and Technology in South Korea,and his colleagues began to study whether it was easy to print a working network of organic transistors for this electronic components to fulfill its potential.To plug in more transistors,they designed transistors that could be stacked on the top of other transistors instead of placing them side-by-side on the chip,effectively placing two transistors in a space that originally housed only one transistor in.

The researchers used inkjet printers to print a 3-micron circuit at a time :At the bottom,they used organic compounds to make current flow into and out of a transisitor's portion,followed by a metal electrode that controls the current in both transistors.At the very top is the organic compound that makes up the other current-carrying component of the transistor.The researchers also placed a thin layer of parylene protective material between the transistor layers.This device contains more than 100 transistors,enough to form a certain amount of computing power(including addition and subtraction)logic.

Jung's equipment reached some key indicators. After eight months,all the transistors still work.This is an impressive achievement for organic electronic components that have a short life expectancy.In addition ,this process doesn't require more than 120 degrees Celsius for temperature compared to silicon wafer lines that are hot at hundreds of degress.The team published the study in the ACS Nano journal.

However,these printed devices are far from competing with silicon materials.The team can put five transistors in one square millimeter of space,but today's integrated ciecuits in computers can stuff millions of transistors in the same space."In terms of transistor density,our technology is similar to that of silicon crystals in the 1960s and 1970s ,when the earliest microprocessors were just born,"Jung said.

Jung's team is a circuit printed on hard glass as they aim to articulate a concept rather than prototype the product.But he said they have printed the same components on soft plastic and will announce the results in the near future.

Dodabalapur also pointed out that by some indicators,the new device lags behind the organic circuitry that other researchers have realiazed.For example,the team used computational logic types that needed more transistors than other methods,greatly offsetting the benefits of tighter package components.And the transistor operation is relatively slow,consistency is not high.In addition,while it is possible to use ink-jet printers for every step of the manufacturing process,Dodabalapur said:"I didn't see any advantage in limiting myself to a printing and manufacturing technology."

But when the product turns commercial,such defects can be eliminated,said Janos Veres,PARC's flexible electronics specialist.He praised the novel way the study demonstrated when it came to printing and protecting organic circuit components,and he envisioned future sensors that did not contain just two layers.But most transistors may need to work with silicon and other technologies.He said "Ultimately we will be able to achieve microchip printing."

 

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Flexible electronic devices made from organic materials have always been a source of hope ,and would be ideal if they could be made cheaply and quickly using printing methods.Imagine that your future ...
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    2016 - 12 - 16
    Flexible electronic devices made from organic materials have always been a source of hope ,and would be ideal if they could be made cheaply and quickly using printing methods.Imagine that your future smartwatch and heart monitoring device will be printed by an inkjet printer .Recently, researchers have taken a new step toward printing inexpensive,reliable transistor arrays and have done some basic calculations with them. Transistor is a key element of modern electronic technology,and this study may one day lead us into an era of organic flexible consumer electronics .Unlike conventional silicon, the new circuit will be made of organic matter,which is a carbon-based compound.Althought there has been a team that has previously printed and assembled organic electronic components in conjuncti...
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