Researchers have found another most important application of Graphene i.e. its use in printing technology. Graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms, is referred to as “Wonder material” because of its long file of uses.
This research has been done by Andrea Ferrari and colleagues at the University of Cambridge in the UK and is available online in the archive for electronic preprints of scientific papers i.e. arXiv.org.
This group of researchers hopes that printable electronics could be produced on smaller scale by replacing metal nanoparticles with graphene.
Researchers have developed graphene based transistors for printing technology. They improved the efficiency and performance of organic semiconductor material and created an ink capable of depositing graphene on a flexible substrate of silicon. However, the difficulty is its combination in ink that willingly forms small droplets, which is essential for inkjet printing.
This is essentially the breakthrough that Ferrari and co have achieved. They’ve found a way to readily produced graphene by chemically chipping flakes off a block of graphite and filtering them to remove any that might clog the printer heads.
They then add the flakes to a solvent called N-Methylpyrrolidone, or NMP, which minimises problems such as the coffee ring effect that can occur when some solvents evaporate.
Finally they’ve put this stuff in their printers and printed out a few circuits and thin film transisters.
The results are promising. The graphene-based inks match or beat the performance of most other inks available today. That’s pretty good for a first attempt since improvements will certainly follow.
Professor Andrea Ferrari, Head of the Nanomaterials and Spectroscopy Group, said,
Our mission is to take graphene and related layered materials from a state of raw potential to a point where they can revolutionise multiple industries – from flexible, wearable and transparent electronics to high performance computing and spintronics.
F. Torrisi, T. Hasan, W. Wu, Z. Sun, A. Lombardo, T. Kulmala, G. W. Hshieh, S. J. Jung, F. Bonaccorso, P. J. Paul, D. P. Chu, A. C. Ferrari, (2011). Ink-Jet Printed Graphene Electronics.