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A cost-effective method for mass production of printed flexible graphene-based electronics

This green, low-cost and versatile approach will enable in situ transfer of multiple electronic devices and it requires neither a clean room nor organic solvents

5 Feb 2016 | Editor

The ICN2 NanoBioelectronics and Biosensors Group, led by the ICREA Research Prof Arben Merkoci, recently published a paper in ACS Nano on a versatile, low-cost and customisable method for patterning graphene oxide onto substrates one that does not require neither a cleanroom nor organic solvents. It consists of three easy steps: printing, filtering and pressing.

According to the researchers some methods for patterning electronic devices involve long fabrication periods, high cost, great expertise and clean room facilities. Moreover, these methods are not versatile or effective for designing simple devices such as transistors or capacitors and overall biosensors that require effective linking of specific (bio)receptors.

The patterning method developed by ICN2 allows the transfer of graphene oxide onto almost any substrate in an easy, cost-effective and customisable way.

The patented method consists of three steps:

  • Printing: A nitrocellulose membrane is patterned onto the desired shape using a wax printer. The inverse pattern is printed onto the membrane surface
  • Filtering: The wax-printed membrane is set onto the filtering glass and the suspension of graphene oxide is filtered. The wax clogs the membrane pores wherever it is printed
  • Pressing: The pattern obtained is transferred by pressure to the desired target substrate

This green, low-cost and versatile approach will enable in situ transfer of multiple electronic devices such as field effect transistors (FET), LEDs, electrodes, solar cells, biosensors or supercapacitors. It requires neither a clean room nor organic solvents.

The wax-printed membranes have 50µm resolution, long-term stability and infinite shaping capability over a variety of substrates, including textile, paper, adhesive film or PET.

Additionally, the technology can be implemented in a roll-to-roll hardware, speeding up the printing. It is also is promising for implementation in under-developed countries.

ICN2 NanoBioelectronics and Biosensors Group - Printed flexible graphene-based electronics

Figure: ICN2 NanoBioelectronics and Biosensors Group - Printed flexible graphene-based electronics

For further information:

Water Activated Graphene Oxide Transfer Using Wax Printed Membranes for Fast Patterning of a Touch Sensitive Device

Luis Baptista-Pires | Carmen C. Mayorga-Martínez | Mariana Medina-Sánchez | Helena Montón | Arben Merkoçi

ACS Nano | 2016 | 10 (1) | pp 853–860 | DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.5b05963

Publication Date (Web): December 21, 2015

Abstract

We demonstrate a graphene oxide printing technology using wax printed membranes for the fast patterning and water activation transfer using pressure based mechanisms. The wax printed membranes have 50 μm resolution, longtime stability and infinite shaping capability. The use of these membranes complemented with the vacuum filtration of graphene oxide provides the control over the thickness. Our demonstration provides a solvent free methodology for printing graphene oxide devices in all shapes and all substrates using the roll-to-roll automatized mechanism present in the wax printing machine. Graphene oxide was transferred over a wide variety of substrates as textile or PET in between others. Finally, we developed a touch switch sensing device integrated in a LED electronic circuit.

www.icn.cat    www.icrea.cat   



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