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Top Story

Nanowire 'inks' enable paper-based printable electronics

By suspending tiny metal nanoparticles in liquids, Duke University scientists are brewing up conductive ink-jet printer “inks” to print inexpensive, customizable circuit patterns on just about any surface. Printed electronics, which are already being used on a wide scale in devices such as the anti-theft radio frequency identification (RFID) tags you might find on the back of new DVDs, currently have one major drawback: for the circuits to work, they first have to be heated to melt all the nanoparticles together into a single conductive wire, making it impossible to print circuits on inexpensive plastics or paper. A new study by Duke researchers shows that tweaking the shape of the nanoparticles in the ink might just eliminate the need for heat.

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