A new method for printing conductive ink has been developed at the University of Manchester. The researchers pointed out that the most significant aspect of their study is that it represents a new phase of evolution for graphene.
Graphene, the wonder lattice composed of carbon atoms, has proven its worth as one of the most essential nanomaterials of the 21st century, due to its superconductor capabilities and its potential to help meet the soaring bandwidth demands.
For this reason–and motivated by growing interest from various industry stakeholders–scientists have been hard at work on streamlining the processes involved in every stage of its use.
Now, researchers from the University of Manchester have developed a way to produce electronics printed with the 2D material not only in a faster way, but in a cheaper manner as well.
A Conductive Ink Solution Emerges
Despite their higher scale of conductivity compared to other carbon-based materials as well as their relatively better cost-effective application for IoT, the same two challenges have consistently remained for conductive inks which are currently in use:
They are expensive, and they can oxidize easily, both of which limit their practicality. The team used a material called dihydrolevogucosenone, or Cyrene, which offered a promising alternative.
Based on their experiment with the Cyrene, which they observed to “significantly speed up and reduce the cost of the liquid phase exfoliation of graphite”, they found it to also be (1) completely non-toxic but also (2) more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.”
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“Here we report the use of a cellulose derived solvent, dihydrolevoglucosenone (Cyrene), which is not only non-toxic, environmentally friendly and sustainable but also can provide higher concentration of graphene ink, resulting in significant cost reduction for large-scale production. In this work, low cost, environmentally friendly and sustainable, highly conductive graphene ink (10 mg mL−1) has been developed and was further concentrated to 70 mg mL−1 for screen printing.”