The pen may have bested the sword long ago, but now it’s challenging wires and soldering irons. University of Illinois engineers have developed a silver-inked rollerball pen capable of writing electrical circuits and interconnects on paper, wood and other surfaces. The pen is writing whole new chapters in low-cost, flexible and disposable electronics. 

Pen-based printing allows one to construct electronic devices ‘on-the-fly,’ ” said Lewis, the director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the U. of I. “This is an important step toward enabling desktop manufacturing (or personal fabrication) using very low cost, ubiquitous printing tools.”

While it looks like a typical silver-colored rollerball pen, this pen’s ink is a solution of real silver. After writing, the liquid in the ink dries to leave conductive silver pathways — in essence, paper-mounted wires. The ink maintains its conductivity through multiple bends and folds of the paper, enabling devices with great flexibility and conformability.

Metallic inks have been used in approaches using inkjet printers to fabricate electronic devices, but the pen offers freedom and flexibility to apply ink directly to paper or other rough surfaces instantly, at low cost and without programming.

 

Scientists figured out how to use a rollerball pen to write a circuit directly onto paper.

The pen writes electronic circuits using conductive silver ink. This metallic-based pen could literally change the way flexible electronics are fabricated and possibly bring the cost down.

To demonstrate the versatility of the technique, scientists at the University of Illinois took a Chinese painting called Sae-Han-Do, drew on wiring connecting the LED to a battery and watched it light up.

“The key advantage of the pen is that the costly printers and printheads typically required for inkjet or other printing approaches are replaced with an inexpensive, hand-held writing tool,” said Lewis, who is also affiliated with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

Next, the researchers plan to expand the palette of inks to enable pen-on-paper writing of other electronic and ionically conductive materials.

Courtesy:sciencedaily and from other sources

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Mahesh (MGIT ECE 3rd year)

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