NEWS: New Nano Technology Enables Cheap Printed Transistors


AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded materials science research centre based in Trinity College Dublin, have fabricated printed transistors consisting entirely of 2-dimensional nano-materials for the first time. The research findings have been published in the journal Science.

This breakthrough could unlock the potential for applications such as food packaging that displays a digital countdown to warn of spoiling, or wine labels that indicate when white wine is at its optimum temperature.

These 2D materials combine exciting electronic properties with the potential for low-cost production opening the path for sectors, such as ICT and pharmaceuticals, to cheaply print a host of electronic devices - from solar cells to LEDs with applications from interactive smart food and drug labels to next-generation banknote security and e-passports.

Prof Jonathan Coleman, from AMBER explained, “In the future, printed devices will be incorporated into even the most mundane objects such as labels, posters and packaging. Printed electronic circuitry (constructed from the devices we have created) will allow consumer products to gather, process, display and transmit information: for example, milk cartons could send messages to your phone warning that the milk is about to go out-of-date.”

Printable electronics have developed over the last thirty years based mainly on printable carbon-based molecules. “We believe that 2D nanomaterials can compete with the materials currently used for printed electronics. They have the capability to yield more cost effective and higher performance printed devices. This work opens the way to print a whole host of devices solely from 2D nanosheets,” added Prof Coleman.

The team used standard printing techniques to combine graphene nanosheets as the electrodes with two other nanomaterials, tungsten diselenide and boron nitride as the channel and separator (two important parts of a transistor) to form an all-printed, all-nanosheet, working transistor.

Prof Coleman is a partner in Graphene Flagship, a €1 billion EU initiative to boost new technologies and innovation during the next 10 years.