New silver nanowire technique facilitates printing of flexible electronics

Engineering

Scientists have developed a promising new method of printing flexible electronics using silver nanowires.

A team from North Carolina State University have used electrohydrodynamic printing to integrate silver nanowires - which offer considerable flexibility, stretchability and conductive properties - into a wide array of electronic devices.

“A new technique has been developed to facilitate the printing of flexible, stretchable silver nanowire circuits, with a range of potential medical applications.“

Conventional techniques for printing circuits do not work well with this material, as the nanowires often clog the printing nozzles; this new method avoids this by using electrostatic force to eject the ink from a wide nozzle, at which point it is drawn to the appropriate site on the substrate.

The new technique has been used to create prototypes that make use of silver nanowire circuits, including a glove with an internal heater and a wearable electrode for use in electrocardiography.

It is hoped that the method could facilitate the creation of a range of different products and devices, including prosthetic devices and wearable health sensors.

Yong Zhu, a professor of mechanical engineering at North Carolina State University, said: "Given the technique's efficiency, direct writing capability and scalability, we're optimistic that this can be used to advance the development of flexible, stretchable electronics using silver nanowires."

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