Desktop printer does electronic circuits

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We have all come to accept the fact that desktop printers are good for printing virtually all office documents with panache, but electronic circuits? Now that’s a new idea. U.K. researchers have successfully developed an experimental device which comes loaded with a silver salt solution and vitamin C, resulting in the ability of the device to produce electronic circuits. The very same team of researchers claim that this device when manufactured and used on a large scale will be able to provide a safer and cheaper method of manufacturing all things electronic. Printing an entire circuit board definitely augurs well for the silicon industry where current methods are energy intensive and pollutes the environment.

Using a standard HP printer loaded with a special solution composed of metal salts and water, the printer churns out a pattern along with a reducing agent printed over the top in order to create a solid silver form. This solution is 100% water soluble, making for a much more environmentally friendly process. Silver nitrate is the solution of choice for the metal ink, while ascorbic acid, better known as Vitamin C, is the reducing agent. The printer is more than capable of producing a wide variety of circuits and radio antennas across a varied range of surfaces from cotton and acetate to paper.

Initial tests proved successful, where one of them involved patterning an antenna like those found in a cellphone on a transparent film which resulted in the ability to bend it almost in half while retaining conductivity. This ink-jet technology definitely opens new doors to make all kinds of devices possible, but it would be pretty tough trying to compete with existing technologies with so many challenges facing them. Perhaps in another 10 years’ time, my good doctor.

Source: New Scientist Tech

3 reviews or comments

Neagle Says: April 20, 2007 at 9:20 pm

One step closer to self replicating computers!

Personman Says: April 21, 2007 at 10:02 am

Actually, they also use Vitamin C as well as Silver Nitride.

If I knew the ratios, oh the ease of at-home manufacture…

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