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Modified ink printer churns out electronic circuits

Modified ink printer churns out electronic circuits

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I’ve got to try this –

A desktop printer loaded with a silver salt solution and vitamin C has been used to produce electronic circuits. The UK researchers behind the feat say their experimental device could pave the way for safer and cheaper electronics manufacturing.

Being able to print out electronic components and whole circuit boards could provide an alternative to current manufacturing techniques, which are energy intensive and environmentally unfriendly.

Printing conductive polymer ink (see Goodbye wires and silicon, hello plastic chips), or pastes containing graphite or metal particles are two existing options. But researchers at Leeds University in the UK wanted to avoid the solvents needed for these processes.

Modified ink printer churns out electronic circuits – tech – 18 April 2007 – New Scientist Tech – [via] Link.

14 thoughts on “Modified ink printer churns out electronic circuits

  1. mkeblx says:

    How hard would this modification be to do to a standard inkjet printer? It sounds as if it might be possible that all one would need is to buy a prepackaged ink cartridge with these chemicals. If that is all that is required, it’d be a huge hit.

  2. paulsw says:

    I would just be happy with a printer that could print acid resist onto a blank PCB for etching circuit boards.

  3. benjiwenjifoofoo says:
    there’s the official scientific journal they published their findings in…
    and there’s your way to read it.

  4. VinnyF says:

    “were successfully formed using a standard office ink-jet thermal-head printer.”

    Shouldn’t you just be able to get some silver nitrate and fill an empty cartridge slot (provided not LEXMARK :) ), and the black slot with vitamin C?

    I am so tempted to try it (if I can find a spare printer) I hope someone does.

  5. mdaughtrey says:

    So I’ve been tinkering with this, just using the chemicals and Q-tips to put it on paper. The conductivity is horrendously low so far (~300K ohms/cm) but I haven’t adjusted the pH of the solutions. My question is how do I do that? Ascorbic acid is, um…acidic, and I need to adjust to pH 7.2 and the silver nitrate to 6.5. Any ideas, anyone?

  6. _fluffy says:

    If you need to raise the pH, try a solution of baking soda.

  7. c6jones720 says:

    To change the conductivity could you not just use different chemical solutions? You used to be able to get hold of this PCB repair fluid I think it was called called elecolyt. I think it was based on silver but maybe a little bit of something like that in with your fluid might improve conductivity.

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