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Really small print

Microscopic printing techniques could be used to make the next generation of electronic components for large-area displays with higher definition and covering much larger areas than is currently possible with even the best displays today. The technology could also lead to versatile sensors for a range of applications from the environmental to the medical, all at dramatically reduced costs compared to current micromanufacturing technology.

Researchers can already carry out microcontact printing on metal surfaces a few tens of square centimetres in size using microcontact printing and etching. However, while this is a fairly straightforward approach on smaller areas, researchers would prefer to be able to develop a much simpler method applicable even to large-scale production for bigger displays and sensor arrays. Now, a team at Philips Research in Eindhoven in the Netherlands has developed what they call a universally applicable “ink” for microcontact printing.

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