Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a process for printing all sorts of components right on a substrate, one right over another, that could be used to fabricate electronic and optical devices inexpensively. And it works on flexible or curved surfaces, too.
The method could have an impact on various aspects of the display industry. Today's flat-screen LCD televisions are made in enormous, expensive chambers in which the electronics that control individual pixels in the display are formed on large slabs of glass. Rogers says his technique could make it possible to form these electronics in smaller batches in less expensive machines. His process could then transfer the electronics section by section to the displays to cover the glass surface. The smaller batches would also make it possible to create higher-performance silicon in these electronics, Rogers says, which would improve the response time of LCDs.