Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Plastic electronics: interesting application

A breakthrough in the development of a new generation of plastic electronic circuits by researchers at the Cavendish Laboratory brings flexible and transparent intelligent materials – such as artificial skin and interactive playing cards - a step closer. The sense of touch is something we take for granted. The sensitive nerves in our finger tips generate a flow of information to our brains that enables us to do things that require extraordinary precision. Reaching out for an object in the darkness, we are able to tell in a split second what we’re touching and how to respond. Artificial skin with the ability to process information – such as texture and temperature – has long been the holy grail of researchers working on the next generation of electronics. Artificial skin, which has potential in areas such as robotics, and other products are now within our grasp as the result of recent research into the exciting field of plastic electronics. Initially discovered in the late 1970s, plastic electronics is an expanding technology that is bringing us a myriad of products incorporating flexible and transparent electronic circuits in which the active materials are deposited as printable inks onto polymer-based substrates using various printing technologies. Rather than relying on conventional, rigid and brittle silicon chips to process information, plastic technology relies on novel organic materials which can be printed, just as coloured inks can be printed on paper. Plastic electronic circuits have the potential to be printed in a small laboratory containing one or two printing tools, whereas state-of-the-art microchip factories are about the size of three football fields and require purpose-built facilities. READ THE FULL POST

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