Printable inks made from conducting polymers, carbon, silver, and other materials allow us to create electronic components and circuits with printing equipment. The process can be automated and allows for the mass production of electronics known as Printed Electronics. The field is undergoing rapid development.
Printed electronics components are for instance transistors, conductors, resistors, displays, sensors, buttons/actuators, batteries, and antennas. These components may be integrated into intelligent packaging, medtech devices, automotive applications, in buildings – in almost any field.
The field is multi-disciplinary, at the intersection of electronics design – chemistry – physics and ranges from fundamental research in polymers (materials science) to applied research with confidential applications in a multitude of market segments, often projects where expertise from universities, research institutes, and industrial players collaborate.
Well-known printing methods are used, such as screen printing, flexography, offset printing, rotogravure printing, and inkjet printing. Printing can be performed on separate sheets or by means of roll-to-roll processing (R2R).
Key benefits with printed electronics
- Novel form factors
- Inexpensive mass production
- Electronics on flexible substrates
- Rapid prototyping in small series
- Lower investment costs
- Eco-friendly production
Examples of application areas and use cases
- Smart Labels and Sensors
- Temperature-monitoring labels
- Humidity sensors
- Piezosensors based on polymers
- Multisensor platforms
- Body interfaces and biomarker sensors
- Batteries for power supply
- Antennas for wireless communication between labels and scanners
- Wireless labels for connection to networks – ”Internet of Things”
- Multicolour reflective low-energy displays
- Thin, flexible lighting that can be arbitrarily shaped
- Printed Solar Cells on Paper and Plastic
- Authentication and anti-counterfeit features (e.g. pharma packaging, smart banknotes)
- Sensors for monitoring, e.g. moisture, temperature or biological substances (“smart plastics”, monitoring of perishables)