Printed electronics is one of the buzzwords in the industry and it has been a major theme at last year’s drupa. In the course of ever developing electronic devices, which have to be smaller and even more efficient at the same time, cost-effective methods and materials are on top of engineers’ and developers’ lists. The Japanese company Super Inkjet Technology (SIJT) Inc. might have created a solution for that. Their super fine inkjet, which is able to print onto different materials on the sub-micrometer scale, has great potential to revolutionize the printed electronics market.
Ultra-Precision Small Scale Printing
The printing solution developed by Dr. Kazuhiro Murata, CEO of SIJT, and his team sounds promising: It allows for the printing of sub-femtoliter droplets with the help of a 64 kg desktop printer. Conventional printers with this capability are more than 10 times bigger than their solution. During the printing process, the little ink droplets are dropped on top of one another in order to create three-dimensional shapes e.g. electronic circuits or other printed electronics. The most interesting part of their technology is that they use metal and conductive inks which can be operated at normal temperatures and atmospheric conditions. This might lead to a massive reduction in costs, for material and maintenance respectively.
Advantages and Necessity of Inkjet Technology
Especially the fact that these inks can be printed by room temperature is one of the most relevant advantages. Normally, printing metal requires high temperatures because their melting points are at high degrees. In the small scale field, the melting points decrease significantly but printing in nano sizes lowers to room temperature. Therefore manufacturers do not have to invest in heat management and specialized high temperature and vacuum environments. The size of the SIJT printer is another pro. One can easily put it on a counter and must not build large production halls in order to use efficient machinery. Even though there are skeptics when it comes to the size and the general technology of the printer, CEO Murata points to another advantage: Due to its configuration and the easy-to-use software even non-specialists can handle the printer, plus the maintenance of it is at a low price.
Various Applications for SIJT Desktop Printer
With the rise of printed electronics, the most obvious application field for the Japanese printer is printed electronics. This new technology will help to cost effectively produce LED panels, solar cells, small electric circuits, touch screens and much more. But also in the field of medicine applications are possible, for example, printing bio and protein microchips. The nano printing world is still at its very beginning and will develop massively in the upcoming years.
Let us know what you think of SIJT’s approach? What other applications can you think of? Tell us your opinion in the comments section below.