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New Breakthroughs in Electronic Inks

SpecialChem / Feb 11, 2008

Arthur C Clarke, the science fiction writer that invented the geostationary satellite, famously said that any sufficiently advanced new science is indistinguishable from magic. The dream of printing electronics onto and into anything sounds pretty magical, particularly when it is said to involve creating bionic man, having edible electronics, smart clothing, skin patches that deliver drugs according to the need that they sense and many other things straight from comic books. However, there is now a clear road map taking us to these things. When we print electronics directly onto things, in the way that 85% of barcodes are printed today, there will be little market for substrates, cases, keyboards, mounted displays and the paraphernalia - and profit makers - of electronics today. The added value will be almost entirely in the ink. Some of these clever inks will cost ten times their weight in gold but, paradoxically, because they will be printed in layers only a few atoms thick, they will create very low cost devices.

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