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Printing the Future of Electronics

Prof. Ananth Dodabalpur and his research team have recently published findings on his work involoving inkjet printed electronic devices as a low-cost, high throughput manufacturing method for electronic systems and circuits. The research team includes Prof. Dodabalapur, Texas ECE graduate students Seonpil Jang and Bongjun Kim in collaboration with Prof. Mark Hersam and graduate student Michael Grier of Northwestern University. The findings have been selected as the cover feature in the November 4 issue of the Small journal of nano and mircoelectronics. 

This research was performed as part of an Office of Naval Research (ONR) funded Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) tha.t will continue through fall 2016. This piece of work is part of an ongoing series of papers on inkjet printed carbon nanotubes and nanotube circuits published by Dodabalapur's group.

The work reported in the paper involved demonstrating inkjet printed carbon nanotube based transistors with relatively small channel lengths (by the standards of printed electronics, not those of silicon) and showing that the performance characteristics are almost comparable to those of aligned carbon nanotube based transistors made with more conventional (non-printing) methods that are more complex and expensive.  This is an early demonstration that  printed electronic devices can have performance characteristics far better than has been possible so far in printed electronics and also that the characteristics of inkjet printed carbon nanotube transistors can be made almost comparable to “regular” carbon nanotube transistors, which people have been working on for years.  Printing, as a fabrication method for electronic systems and circuits, is currently getting attention as a low-cost, high throughput manufacturing method.  Not all the layers in this device are formed by printing, however, that is the direction the research is headed.

Dr. Ananth Dodabalapur is the Cullen Trust for Higher Education Endowed Professor in Engineering #3 in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He was recently appointed as the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Flexible and Printed Electronics (FPE) journal.

Seonpil Jang is a Texas ECE PhD student supervised by Prof. Dodabalapur. Prior to joinging the PhD program, he was an R&D engineer at Samsung Electronics for five years.

Bongjun Kim is a Texas ECE PhD student supervised by Prof. Dodabalapur. Prior to joinging the PhD program, he received his MS in Electrical Engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Dr. Mark C. Hersam is a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2014.

Michael L. Grier is a graduate student in the Hersam Research Group at Northwestern University.