Printable electronics are reckoned to cause escalating use of smart, connected devices. This could range from household appliances to communicate with each other to medical diagnostic sensors that can be positioned on the body to eliminate invasive procedures.
However, the variety of printing surfaces is a challenge. This is because the method used for printing on a flat object may have safety issues for human skin or may not be applicable for complicated shapes and textures.
The research has led to the development of a cost-effective, low-heat transfer method that can print biodegradable electronics for a variety of complicated geometries, and human skin too, potentially.
The endeavor is to enable direct creation of circuits on 3D geometries of freeform. In fact, the printing on complex objects can connect a number of objects around us – from smart home sensors to robots that perform complex tasks together and devices placed on human body.
To initiate the printing process, it involved covering a thin film with ink composed of zinc nanoparticles. The thin film joined to a stencil-like overlay on the surface that is aimed at. Following this, the researchers pulsed high-power xenon light through the film. Within a time of milliseconds, the energy discharged from the light excited the particles that was adequate to transfer them to new surface via stencil.
And with this method, the new surface could have a complex shape. Importantly, printed objects for the experiment could include a glass beaker and seashell. The transmitted zinc created a conductive electronic circuit that could be molded for use as an antenna or a sensor.