Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Liquid Silver Used to Print Electronic Circuits

The technological inventions requiring silver increase daily.

Printing electronics just got a boost from the University of Illinois, where the latest in electric inks has been made from silver.
Jennifer Lewis, a professor of materials science and engineering, and graduate student S. Brett Walker described the new ink in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Most inks for printing electronics have metallic particles in them. This ink is all liquid -- a solution of silver and ammonia. When printed, the liquid evaporates, leaving a trail of conductive material.

Also, while silver may sound like an expensive material, it’s been between $26 and $48 per ounce over the last year, and an ounce of silver would supply a lot of printing ink. The cost per unit volume would be comparable to that of printer inks sold today.
Sure, scientists have printing electronics onto flexible surfaces to make antennas, for example, and there are now even pens that can “write” circuits. But the silver ink gets us all one step closer to printing circuits using a simple desktop machine.

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