Plastic displays, solar cells, and other kinds of gadgets are attractive for their flexibility and potential low cost. But they rely on materials—polymers, nanoparticles, and carbon nanotubes—that are incompatible with manufacturing processes designed for silicon-based devices. Now, researchers have developed a printing process that could make possible mass production of plastic electronic devices.
Many companies are experimenting with ink-jet systems to create flexible printed electronics, usually by adapting standard ink-jet printers to dispense fluids with useful electronic properties. But such systems generally can only print features down to 20 micron