Xerox debuts ink tech to 'print' electronic circuits on textiles, film, plastics

Xerox has announced a new ink technology for printing electronic circuitry -- paving the way for digital clothing, flexible displays and signage, lighter e-book readers, solar cells, sensors and "smart" everyday objects.

Xerox has announced a new ink technology for printing electronic circuitry -- paving the way for digital clothing, flexible displays and signage, lighter e-book readers, solar cells, sensors and "smart" everyday objects.

Announced at the Printed Electronics Europe conference in Dresden, Germany this week, the process uses ink containing silver metal that can be used to print circuits on textiles, film and plastics like a conventional document.

The development could be used for "smart" pill boxes that track how much medication a patient has taken, or flexible display screens that roll up to fit into a briefcase.

"We've found the silver bullet that could make things like electronic clothing and inexpensive games a reality today," said Paul Smith, laboratory manager of Xerox Research Centre of Canada, in a statement. "This breakthrough means the industry now has the capability to print electronics on a wider range of materials and at a lower cost."

Amazingly, the ink technology uses conventional inkjet printing methods, and Xerox says it's even used it with conventional desktop printers. (The company expects it to be used in continuous-feed printers that print on rolls and not sheets, however.)

The production advantage is that the technology doesn't require the ultra-clean environments required for silicon chip manufacturing. Furthermore, the ink is formulated so that the molecules precisely align themselves in the best configuration to conduct electricity, the company says.

If Xerox has its way, you'll see the new tech sooner rather than later: the silver ink technology is now available for testing by outside parties for commercialization.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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