A team of researchers based at The University of Manchester have found a low cost method for producing graphene printed electronics, which significantly speeds up and reduces the cost of conductive graphene inks.
Printed electronics offer a breakthrough in the penetration of information technology into everyday life. The possibility of printing electronic circuits will further promote the spread of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) applications.
Current conductive inks traditionally use metal nanoparticles for their high electrical conductivity. However, these materials can be expensive or easily oxidised, making them far from ideal for low-cost IoT applications.
The team have found that using a material called
“This work demonstrates that printed graphene technology can be low cost, sustainable, and environmentally friendly for ubiquitous wireless connectivity in IoT era as well as provide RF energy harvesting for low power electronics”.
The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), who was involved in measurements for this work, has partnered with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester to provide a materials characterisation service to provide the missing link for the industrialisation of graphene and 2D materials.
“Graphene is swiftly moving from research to application domain. Development of production methods relevant to the end-user in terms of their flexibility, cost and compatibility with existing technologies are extremely important. This work will ensure that implementation of graphene into day-to-day products and technologies will be even faster”.
“This perhaps is a significant step towards commercialisation of printed graphene technology. I believe it would be an evolution in the printed electronics industry because the material is such a low cost, stable and environmentally friendly”.
They have also published a joint NPL and NGI a good practice guide which aims to tackle the ambiguity surrounding how to measure graphene’s characteristics.
“Materials characterisation is crucial to be able to ensure performance reproducibility and scale up for commercial applications of graphene and 2D materials. The results of this collaboration between the University and NPL is mutually beneficial, as well as providing measurement training for Ph.D. students in a metrology institute environment.”
Graphene has the potential to create the next generation of electronics currently limited to science fiction: faster transistors, semiconductors, bendable phones and flexible wearable electronics.