26.03.08

Printed flat panel displays?

AUTHOR: Inavate

Flat-panel computer displays could be manufactured quickly and cheaply using novel inkjet printing equipment demonstrated by Japanese scientists.

The technique has already been used to produce the delicate wiring and tiny components needed for flexible screens. The new inkjet head is able to produce drops 1,000 times smaller than standard printers, according to the researchers. Writing in the journal PNAS, the team say the technique also improves the performance of printed circuits. "The present work demonstrates the feasibility of employing inkjet technology… for electronic device applications," the University of Tokyo team write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This technique can be applied for patterning high-purity electrically functional materials without preparing original patterning masks," the researchers write. They were able to create finer details by applying a high voltage to the print head, causing drops in the inkjet to explode into one micron droplets. Using ink made of silver nanoparticles held in a solvent, the researchers printed continuous lines two microns wide and components just one micron across. Although these are large by current microprocessor standards - which can have features measured in nanometres (billionths of a metre) - the researchers believe it is good enough for use in TFT screens.