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Ordinary copy paper can be made highly conductive by treating it with a simple water-based dispersion of carbon nanotubes. Bing Hu and other graduate students under Stanford researcher Yi Cui published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) describing the use of such conductive paper to create high-performing prototype supercapacitors, batteries, and fuel cells. He also studied the wear resistance of the nanotube ink and found that it bonds very tightly to the paper; his data show that soaking, rinsing, and wringing-out in water does not significantly affect the properties of the treated paper. The supplementary information for his PNAS paper is freely available for download and describes his experimental methods in detail, including the recipe for his ink and the trick of reloading a commercial highlighter with it. [via Science Daily]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

  • alandove

    Plain old India ink is also conductive, though with a somewhat higher resistance than this stuff. It is, however, vastly less expensive and easier to obtain, and even comes in conveniently pre-filled pens at your local art supply store.

  • jonas

    this could be used to make super rapid prototype pcb’s just poke the conponents through. This can even be made into printer ink ans with a pbc makeing software you just print out a PBC!!!

  • Phringe

    at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America would notice what the acronym PNAS sounds like pronounced, right?