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Inkjet printing used to create graphene-based circuits

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Inkjet-printable graphene has been developed by researchers from the University of Cambridge, making cheap flexible circuitry a possibility.

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via <a href="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/118445/arxiv.org_pdf_1111.4970v1.png">dl.dropbox.com</a>
via dl.dropbox.com

Using graphene in printed circuits isn't new, but now researchers at the University of Cambridge have found a way to produce them with a consumer-grade inkjet printer. The team adapted an Epson Stylus 1500 and a matching S020049 cartridge and were able to use them to create circuits on a silicon film for far less than the cost of industrial machinery. The "ink" in this setup is where the real innovation lies. The researchers created it by applying a solvent called NMP to larger flakes of graphene, producing a liquid solution that can be loaded into a printer without clogging it. Using this technique, they've managed to print thin-film transistors — the component which forms the basis of OLED and LCD displays and the CMOS and CCD imaging sensors used in digital cameras.

The research paper suggests that this new technique can provide flexible, transparent circuitry much more cheaply than existing methods. If this research pans out, flexible electronics could be far closer than we think — at a reasonable price.