Global Sources
EE Times-India
Stay in touch with EE Times India
 
EE Times-India > Manufacturing/Packaging
 
 
Manufacturing/Packaging  

Inkjet circuits offer inexpensive rapid prototyping approach

Posted: 11 Nov 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electrical circuits  inkjet circuits  rapid prototyping 

Microsoft Research, along with Georgia Tech and the University of Tokyo, has developed a novel method to rapidly and cheaply make electrical circuits by printing them with commodity inkjet printers and off-the-shelf materials.

For about Rs.18,867.92 ($300) in equipment costs, anyone can produce working electrical circuits in the 60 seconds it takes to print them, the researchers said.

The technique, called instant inkjet circuits, allows the printing of arbitrary-shaped conductors onto rigid or flexible materials and "could advance the prototyping skills of non-technical enthusiasts and novice hackers."

"We believe there is an opportunity to introduce a new approach to the rapid prototyping of fully custom-printed circuits," said Gregory Abowd, Regents' Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech and an investigator in the study. "Unlike existing methods for printing conductive patterns, conductivity in our technique emerges within a few seconds and without the need for special equipment."

image name

Silver nanoparticle ink is injected into an empty cartridge and used in conjunction with an off-the-shelf inkjet printer to enable 'instant inkjet circuit' prototyping.

Recent advances in chemically bonding metal particles allowed the researchers to use silver nanoparticle ink to print the circuits and avoid thermal bonding, or sintering, a time-consuming and potentially damaging technique due to the heat. Printing the circuits on resin-coated paper, PET film and glossy photo paper worked best, according to the research team.

"Everything we introduced in our research is available in the market and makes it possible for people to try this at home," said Yoshihiro Kawahara, Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo and the primary investigator who developed the methodology while in Atlanta.

"The method can be used to print circuit boards, sensors and antennas with little cost, and it opens up many new opportunities."

To make the technique possible, researchers optimised commercially available tools and materials including printers, adhesive tape and the silver ink. Designing the circuit itself was accomplished with desktop drawing software, and even a photocopy of a drawing can produce a working circuit.

Once printed, the circuits can be attached to electronic components using conductive double-sided tape or silver epoxy adhesive, allowing full-scale prototyping in mere hours. The homemade circuits might allow tinkerers to quickly prototype crude calculators, thermostat controls, battery chargers or any number of electronic devices.

"Using this technology in the classroom, it would be possible to introduce students to basic electronics principles very cheaply, and they could use a range of electronic components to augment the experience," said Steve Hodges, a team member from Microsoft Research.





Comment on "Inkjet circuits offer inexpensive ra..."
Comments:  
*  You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:
 
 
Webinars

Seminars

Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

 

Go to top             Connect on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter      Follow us on Orkut

 
Back to Top