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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ink Jet Printer & Plastic Electronics

(Via worldchanging) It's entirely possible that one of the most important technological innovations of the 20th century will turn out to have been the lowly ink-jet printer. As it happens, the technology that makes it possible to squirt minute quantities of ink in precise patterns onto a sheet of paper is perfect for spraying out other materials (such as resin, plastic and even biological tissues), assembling them into solid objects. In some cases, the only significant difference between an experimental fabricator and the cheap printer that came free with a box of cereal is the content of the "ink" cartridge.We're rapidly approaching a time when useful objects can be printed out as easily as a photo. Related breakthroughs are happening regularly. The Material Science group at Northwestern University published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last month, describing a new, very low voltage thin-film organic transistor material which will allow both inexpensive production and significantly lower power-consumption for plastic electronics.
"This means having plastic electronics the size of a pen battery - rather than an automobile battery - power your cell phone," said [Northwestern Professor of Chemistry Tobin] Marks. "And, instead of being carved out of silicon, transistor structures would be printed in a fashion similar to that of newspapers, but with organic molecules as the ink and plastic as the paper. Much as the New York Times prints a different edition of the newspaper every day, we could flexibly print a wide variety of electronic devices quickly, easily and cheaply."
This would affect different parts of the world very differently - we shall increased convergence in the devleoped world while the underdeveloped world would increasingly focus on development on communications.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"