There is significant growth potential for printable electronics in the next two decades and nanostructured materials are playing an increasingly important role. Inks containing dispersions of semiconducting nanoparticles can form nanocomposite materials with unique electronic properties when cured. Electronic devices can be fabricated on paper, plastic and
textiles using electrically functional nanomaterial inks in combination with standard printing processes such as screen printing, offset lithography and ink-jet printing.
For high conductivity it is necessary
to use metallic materials, such as silver nanoparticle inks. As well as their high conductivity, they have a low sintering temperature T (<150°C), and are available for spray, digital and screen printing applied in, for example, conductive circuits on LED devices. They also possesses excellent resistance to scratches, good adhesion on glass, glass/ITO, and are compatible with most flexible substrates.
Nanomaterials are driving developments in printable and flexible electronics. A key element of materials used in printable electronics is high conductivity. Silicon nanowires, copper, gold and zinc oxide nanoparticle inks have been used in RFID, displays, solar cells, thin film transistors and in many other areas of printable electronics.
Printable carbon nanotube inks and graphene-based inks are being developed by a number of companies. Single-wall carbon nanotube inks show great potential for use in printable electronics as the semiconducting layer. Their electronic properties include high room-temperature charge mobility that is more than an order of magnitude larger than that of crystalline silicon.
NanoMas Technologies, Inc.
Cambridge Graphene Platform
SouthWest NanoTechnologies, Inc.