FROM THE LAB
A team led by Dr Tawfique Hasan at the Cambridge Graphene Centre has developed a new way of printing using graphene-based ink. Although several graphene printing methods have been demonstrated before, Hasan’s team is the first to achieve the kind of printing speeds that will be needed for the process to become commercially viable. Tiny particles of graphene are suspended in a ‘carrier’ solvent mixture, which is then mixed with conductive, water-based ink. The printed material’s resistance can be controlled by varying the ratio of the ingredients, and the same method could also be used to create inks based on other types of metallic, semiconducting or insulating particles. Currently, most printed circuits are made from a mixture of carbon and silver. By substituting graphene ink, such circuits could be printed more quickly, would be less harmful to the environment and would be up to 25 times cheaper to produce. Suggested applications include the production of ‘intelligent’ packaging and disposable biosensors.