Printable Functional Materials

Potential technical applications of printable functional inks.

The videos and information in this post relate to an ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology focus issue called: Printable Functional Materials for Electronics and Energy Applications.

(Read/download the focus issue now. It’s entirely free.)

Printing technologies in an atmospheric environment offer the potential for low-cost and materials-efficient alternatives for manufacturing electronics and energy devices such as luminescent displays, thin-film transistors, sensors, thin-film photovoltaics, fuel cells, capacitors, and batteries. Significant progress has been made in the area of printable functional organic and inorganic materials including conductors, semiconductors, and dielectric and luminescent materials.

These new printable functional materials have and will continue to enable exciting advances in printed electronics and energy devices. Some examples are printed amorphous oxide semiconductors, organic conductors and semiconductors, inorganic semiconductor nanomaterials, silicon, chalcogenide semiconductors, ceramics, metals, intercalation compounds, and carbon-based materials.

A special focus issue of the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology was created about the publication of state-of-the-art efforts that address a variety of approaches to printable functional materials and device. This focus issue, consisting of a total of 15 papers, includes both invited and contributed papers reflecting recent achievements in printable functional materials and devices.

The topics of these papers span several key ECS technical areas, including batteries, sensors, fuel cells, carbon nanostructures and devices, electronic and photonic devices, and display materials, devices, and processing. The overall collection of this focus issue covers an impressive scope from fundamental science and engineering of printing process, ink chemistry and ink conversion processes, printed devices, and characterizations to the future outlook for printable functional materials and devices.

The video below demonstrates Printed Metal Oxide Thin-Film Transistors by J. Gorecki, K. Eyerly, C.-H. Choi, and C.-H. Chang, School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University.

Step-by-step explanation of the video:

(more…)

Electrochemistry Tackles Air Quality

Researchers from Cambridge University have developed low-cost pollution detectors to help combat the world’s largest environmental health risk.

“To work out the factors we should be worried about, and how we can intervene, we need to rethink how we measure what’s going on,” said atmospheric scientists Professor Rod Jones.

While pollution detectors do exist, their network is currently limited due to the high cost of the devices. Jones and his team have set out to develop a small, low-cost pollution detector that is sensitive enough to track air changes and quality on a street-by-street basis.

The team based their work on an electrochemical sensor that is industrially safe and can detect toxins at the parts-per-billion level.

(more…)

New Type of Graphene Aerogel (Video)

focus-issue-boxLogan Streu, ECS Content Associate & Assistant to the CCO, recently spotted an article out of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory detailing a new type of graphene aerogel that could improve energy storage, sensors, nanoelectronics, catalysis, and separations.

The researchers are creating graphene aerogel microlattics through a 3D printing process known as direct ink wetting.

This from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:

The 3D printed graphene aerogels have high surface area, excellent electrical conductivity, are lightweight, have mechanical stiffness and exhibit supercompressibility (up to 90 percent compressive strain). In addition, the 3D printed graphene aerogel microlattices show an order of magnitude improvement over bulk graphene materials and much better mass transport.

(more…)

Vibrating Vest Allows People to Feel Sound

A novel vibrating vest that will allow deaf people to feel sound is under development at Rice University. The low-cost, non-invasive VEST—Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer—features dozens of embedded sensors to vibrate varying patterns based on the words spoken.

The VEST works in tandem with a phone or tablet app to isolate speech from ambient sound and allow for easier translation of the vibration patterns.

“We see other applications for what we’re calling tactile sensory substitution,” says Rice University junior Abhipray Sahoo. “Information can be sent through the human body. It’s not just an augmentative device for the deaf. The VEST could be a general neural input device. You could receive any form of information.”


227th ECS Meeting Chicago LogoInterested in how sensor technology could change the world? Make sure to join us at the 227th ECS Meeting in Chicago this May, where we’ll hold symposia dedicated to sensors and their applications in healthcare, the environment, and beyond.

Register online now!

People in remote locations can now detect viruses and bacteria without leaving their homes.Image: Scientific Reports

People in remote locations can now detect viruses and bacteria without leaving their homes.
Image: Scientific Reports

A team of researchers has developed a device that aims to provide adequate and efficient health care to those who live in remote regions with limited access to medical professionals.

The device utilizes biosensing to detected such viruses and bacteria as HIV and Staph from remote locations. Patients simply take a small blood or saliva sample and apply it to a film made of cellulose paper—each of which is designed to detect a specific bacteria or virus.

This from Popular Science:

The patient would then use a smartphone app to take a picture of the sample and send it to a doctor for diagnosis. Medical professionals, no matter where they are, would receive the cell-fies and look at the bacterial biomarkers in the sample to diagnose the disease. The film is sensitive, disposable, and much cheaper to produce than similar biosensing films.

(more…)

Call for Papers: JSS Focus Issue

focus_issues_coversThe editors of the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology are calling for papers for the upcoming focus issue: Novel Applications of Luminescent Optical Materials.

Submission Deadline: July 15, 2015

Submit your manuscript today!

The research landscape of luminescent and optical materials is rapidly changing due to a need for such materials outside the lighting and display technologies. Novel materials are needed and are developed with luminescent and optical properties appropriately tuned for applications in solar cells, sensors, bio-imaging, light extraction, and related opto-electronics in addition to solid state lighting and display technologies.

Find out more.

Read previous focus issues in ECS journals.

Sensors Allow Structures to Communicate

The sensors contain innovative distributive mechanisms, which enable online situation awareness and adaptive learning based on artificial intelligence.Image: GENESI

The sensors contain innovative distributive mechanisms, which enable online situation awareness and adaptive learning based on artificial intelligence.
Image: GENESI

If these walls could talk… actually, they can. A new project that goes by the acronym GENESI (Green sEnsor Networks for Structural monItoring) is working to give infrastructure the ability to tell us how it feels.

GENESI researchers are creating various sensor that fit inside buildings, tunnels, and bridges. This novel generation of green wireless sensor networks’ main aim is to allow structures to communicate their status.

The sensor device itself combines a low power node platform with a multi-source energy harvester, a small factor fuel cell, and an energy efficient radio. Each sensor has the ability to monitor vibrating strain, displacement, temperature, and soil moisture.

(more…)

UK Unveils Driverless Pods

If the three initial pods are successful, a fleet of 40 vehicles will be rolled out on the pavements of the UK.

If the three initial pods are successful, a fleet of 40 vehicles will be rolled out on the pavements of the UK.

The UK is setting itself up to be a world leader in driverless technology with the introduction of the LUTZ Pathfinder pod.

The vehicle is the UK’s first driverless car that is making its way past the testing phase and it poised to hit the roads later this year.

The electric-powered vehicle has 19 sensors and a light detection and ranging system, which measure distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light.

With a range of 40 miles, the vehicle can last eight hours of continuous travel on one charge. However, it maxes out at top speeds of 15 mph.

(more…)

Using human skin as one of its charge-collectors, a new flexible generator converts muscle movements into enough power for small electronics.Image: National University of Singapore

Using human skin as one of its charge-collectors, a new flexible generator converts muscle movements into enough power for small electronics.
Image: National University of Singapore

A new discovery from the National University of Singapore has yielded a material that could be used to create battery-free, wearable sensors to power your electronics from the energy generated via muscle movement.

The sensor, which is the size of a postage stamp, uses human skin as one of its charge-collectors. The device takes advantage of static electricity to convert mechanical energy into electricity. It is powered by the wear’s daily activities such as walking, talking, or simply holding an object.

This from IEEE Spectrum:

They tested the device by attaching it to a subject’s forearm or throat, nanopillar side down. Fist-clenching and speaking produced 7.3V and 7.5V respectively. The researchers tested the device as a human motion/activity sensor by attaching it on the forearm and measuring the pulse generated due to holding and releasing of an object.

(more…)

Sensors Make ‘Sixth Sense’ Possible

Scientists from Germany and Japan have developed a new magnetic sensor, which is thin, robust and pliable enough to be smoothly adapted to human skin, even to the most flexible part of the human palm.Image: IFW Dresden

Scientists from Germany and Japan have developed a new magnetic sensor, which is thin, robust and pliable enough to be smoothly adapted to human skin, even to the most flexible part of the human palm.
Image: IFW Dresden

Humans possess five basic senses: touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. While we do not inherently possess any senses beyond those five, it is possible to tap into extended senses through science and technology.

Magnetoception, for example, is a sense which allows bacteria, insects and even vertebrates like birds and sharks to detect magnetic fields for orientation and navigation. While humans cannot organically perceive magnetic fields, scientist have just created a new sensor that may allow us to do so.

Researchers from Germany and Japan have developed a new magnetic sensor that is thin and pliable enough to be adapted to the human skin. This innovation makes equipping humans with magnetic senses a more viable reality.

This from Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden:

These novel magneto-electronics are less than two micrometers thick and weights only three gram per square meter; they can even float on a soap bubble. The new magnetic sensors withstand extreme bending with radii of less than three micrometer, and survive crumpling like a piece of paper without sacrificing the sensor performance. On elastic supports like a rubber band, they can be stretched to more than 270 percent and for over 1,000 cycles without fatigue. These versatile features are imparted to the magnetoelectronic elements by their ultra-thin and –flexible, yet robust polymeric support.

(more…)