Swedish team develops water-based conductive ink
Researchers at Linköping University have developed a technique that uses water to create conductive inks used in organic electronics such as solar cells, artificial neurons, and soft sensors.
Demand is growing for organic electronics, which can replace traditional silicon-based electronics for some applications. Typically, they are built from semiconducting plastics, known as conjugated polymers. However, these polymers are usually processed with environmentally hazardous, toxic, and flammable solvents.
Obviously, using water would present a major boost for the sector. The Swedish team claim to have succeeded, using a method called ground-state electron transfer to get around the problem of using hazardous chemicals, while improving material properties and device performance.
“I believe that these results can have a transformative impact on the field of organic electronics. By enabling the processing of organic semiconductors from green and sustainable solvents like water, we can mass-produce electronic devices with minimal impact on the environment,” said Simone Fabiano, a Fellow of Sweden's Wallenberg Academy, which funded the research.
The team is now testing the ink to create electrochemical transistors and artificial neurons, demonstrating operating frequencies similar to biological neurons.