Printable Functional Materials

Potential technical applications of printable functional inks.

The video 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 show demonstrates Inkjet Printed Conductive Tracks for Printed Electronic conducted by S.-P. Chen, H.-L. Chiu, P.-H. Wang, and Y.-C. Liao, Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1 Sec. 4 Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan.

Step-by-step explanation of the video:

For printed electronic devices, metal thin film patterns with great conductivities are required. Three major ways to produce inkjet-printed metal tracks will be shown in this video.


Dr. Alvin Salkind Dies at Age 87

Dr. Alvin Salkin with Roque Calvo

Dr. Alvin Salkind with ECS Executive Director Roque Calvo at ECS headquaters May 19, 2015.

We have some very sad news. Long time ECS member, Dr. Alvin Salkind has died. He joined The Electrochemical Society in 1953 and continued as a member in good standing for more than 62 years.

This message from his family:

Dear ECS Society members,

We are sad to let you know that our father, Dr. Alvin J. Salkind, a fellow of the Electrochemical Society, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 87. Funeral services will be on Friday, June 12 at 10am at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Ave., Princeton NJ 08542. All are welcome to join us to celebrate his life and career.

James and Susanne

The first thing you need to know is that Dr. Salkind literally wrote the books on electrochemistry and alkaline batteries: Techniques of Electrochemistry Vol 1-3 with Ernest Yeager and Alkaline Storage Batteries with S. Uno Falk.

The ECS Digital Library will give you an idea of how important he was.

To say he was a friend of the Society is an understatement. He lived near the home office and made frequent visits. The picture above is from his latest visit. He was just here May 19th so Roque Calvo, ECS Executive Director, could interview him on video about his life (we’ll have that video soon). He was a pleasure and had lots of great stories.

Below is just a little from notes we gathered from the research we dug up from various sources about Dr. Salkind as we planned for the video interview:


ECS treasurer E.J. Taylor (Founder & CTO of Faraday Technology), recently forwarded us a story from The Economist featuring ECS members and their contributions to research and development on the ever-improving lithium-ion battery.

Since the battery’s commercialization by Sony in the early 1990s, the lithium-ion battery has improved to produce better laptops, smartphones, and even power electric cars.

Vincent Battaglia, ECS member and head of the Electrochemical Technologies Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, states that the lithium-ion battery “is almost an ideal battery.” With its light weight and recharging capabilities, the battery has received much attention from researchers globally.


Glasgow_blog_imageThe ECS Conference on Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage with SOFC-XIV in Glasgow is right around the corner. With Scotland on our minds, we thought it’d be fitting to look at some of the greatest Scottish scientists, inventors, and engineers. In spite of being a relatively small country, Scotland has produced a group of prolific and esteemed scientists. Take a look at our list and join us in Glasgow, July 26-31.

John Logie Baird (1888-1946)
Engineer, Inventor
Baird was one of the inventors of the mechanical television and was the first person to publicly demonstrate the color television system.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
Engineer, Scientist
One of Scotland’s most eminent scientists, Bell is credited with inventing the first practical telephone. Bell established the Volta Laboratory and Bureau in the late 19th century, which would eventually become known as Bell Labs. (Check out our podcast on Bell Labs!)

Joseph Black (1728-1799)
Chemist, Physician
Black is best known for his discoveries of latent heat, specific heat, and carbon dioxide. Chemistry buildings at both the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow are named after him.


Nikola Tesla

Tesla was known for discovering amazing things and then forgetting to write them down.
Image: The Oatmeal

Nikola Tesla is one of the most recognizable scientists in history; unfortunately the majority of his life was dominated by poverty, isolation, and intense emotional relationships with pigeons. Even with all of this, Telsa’s story is both inspiring, and often times even funny. Here are a few things you may not have known about Tesla.

He once made $2/day digging ditches
After graduating from university, Tesla had big dreams of revolutionizing discovery and development in electricity. He began that journey by working at Edison’s electric company in Paris, but traveled to the United States in hopes of working directly with Edison. Of course, upon seeing his potential, Edison offered him a job. However, Edison never paid Tesla the promised amount of $50,000 for the design of an improved direct current generator. With this, Tesla left Edison’s lab and dug ditches to make ends meet until he found enough backers to start his own lab.

Telsa paid an overdue bill with a “death beam”
Most people know that Tesla had quite the eccentric personality, but his later years in life really demonstrated this. Tesla picked pigeons over people and jumped from one hotel to another living a life of isolation. In an attempt to pay his overdue bill at the Governor Clinton hotel, he offered the establishment a wooden case containing a “death beam.” Tesla stated that it held a potentially war-ending weapon, but that the hotel must never open it. They listened… for a while. Once Tesla died the hotel opened the box to unveil nothing but old electrical components.


The "designer carbon" improved the supercapacitor's electrical conductivity threefold compared to electrodes made of conventional activated carbon.Image: Stanford University

The “designer carbon” improved the supercapacitor’s electrical conductivity threefold compared to electrodes made of conventional activated carbon.
Image: Stanford University

Stanford University researchers have developed a new “designer carbon” that can be fine-tuned for a variety of applications, including energy storage and water filters.

The newly developed carbon material has shown that it can significantly improve the power delivery rate of supercapacitors and boost the performance of energy storage technologies.

“We have developed a ‘designer carbon’ that is both versatile and controllable,” said Zhenan Bao, past member of ECS and the senior author of the study. “Our study shows that this material has exceptional energy-storage capacity, enabling unprecedented performance in lithium-sulfur batteries and supercapacitors.”

(PS: Check out some of Bao’s past papers in the Digital Library!)

Not only is the new carbon an improvement over existing versions, it also has a huge potential scope and is inexpensive to produce.


The revolutionary system can harvest energy from living plants for use in isolated villages,Image: Plant-e

The revolutionary system can harvest energy from living plants for use in isolated villages.
Image: Plant-e

A revolutionary system with the potential to affect global energy harvesting has recently been developed by a company called Plant-e. The system generates electricity from water-logged plants such as rice grown in patty fields to collect and distribute energy to all areas, even desolate villages.

“It’s based on the principle that plants produce more energy than they need,” said Marjolein Helder, co-founder of Plant-e. “The advantage of this system over wind or solar is that it also works at night and when there’s no wind.”

The science behind the Plant-e technology was conceptualized at Wageningen University in 2007, with the company’s establishment happening thereafter in 2009.

Simply find a plant growing in water and the Plant-e system can begin to harvest energy—whether that plant be rice growing in paddies or simply something growing in your garden.

“It’s just the beginning and lots of things still need to be greatly improved, but the potential is enormous,” said Jacqueline Cramer, professor of sustainable innovation at Utrecht University and former Dutch environment minister.


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.


Super-Sensor Spots Cancer Markers

Logan Streu, ECS Content Associate & Assistant to the CCO, recently came across this article detailing an electrochemical device’s life saving potential in cancer treatment.

A new electrochemical sensor is paving the way for quick and affordable “liquid biopsies,” opening the possibility of detecting deadly cancer markers in minutes. This new development could help tailor treatments to specific patients and improve the accuracy of initial diagnosis.

Personalized medicine is a huge part of a new, promising future in cancer treatment. With the ability to tailor treatment to each individual tumor, treatments can become more effective and yield less side-effects.

In an effort to get closer to the ultimate goal of tailored cancer treatment, Shana Kelley and her team at the University of Toronto joined forces with a researcher from the Montreal Children’s Hospital in Quebec to develop the new electrochemical super-sensor.


Over 2,395 people attended the 227th ECS Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, May 24-28, 2015. This was ECS’s first return visit to Chicago since 2007. Participants could choose among 45 symposia and over 2,300 presentations.


Paul Kohl, ECS President

Plenary Session
ECS President Paul Kohl opened the meeting by providing an update on the new fellowship with Toyota Research Instituted of North America, and highlighting the Society’s continuing growth in the open access initiative. Attendees also got their first glimpse of the Official ECS Trading Card Series, with every person at the plenary receiving an Allen J. Bard trading card.



John A. Turner, Research Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

John A. Turner, Research Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The ECS Lecture
Hydrogen from Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting – What’s it gonna’ take? was the title of the ECS Lecture given by Dr. John A. Turner, Research Fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He highlighted novel developments in solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies, challenges and opportunities facing the photoelectrochemical (PEC) community, and PEC solar water splitting systems that could lead to commercial devices. His discussion also focused on metal oxides, surface treatments, and tandem cells for PEC water splitting. Listen to Dr. Turner’s podcast to learn more about PEC water splitting and the future of the energy infrastructure.


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