In 3D printed ‘nanowalls’ can make touchscreens more




Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a method for printing electrodes by using a nano-printing technique. The printed grid of gold or silver nanostructures is virtually invisible to the naked eye.

According to the researchers guide the electrodes of gold nanoparticles a lot better and they are more transparent than films of indium tin oxide, which most touchscreens currently conducting are made. Gold and silver then again have the disadvantage that they are not transparent in film form. A grid of electrodes can provide a solution, as it conducts well enough. The latter obtained the researchers by the electrodes to make two to four times as high as they are wide. This relationship ensures that the “walls” are well-conducting electricity in different directions.

The grid of gold nanowalls is only 300 nanometers thick and is printed on glass through a process called ‘nanodrip. Nanodrip seems some technique involves an inkjet printer and built layer by layer a grid of nanowalls on. The ink itself consists of gold nanoparticles in a solvent. The solvent evaporates quickly after printing on the substrate.

The nanodrip-print process uses a ‘electrohydrodynamic inkjet printer. In this process, an electric field pulls a minuscule droplet metallic ink, or metallic nanoparticles in a solvent, of a glass, capillary tube. The droplets coming out of the tube, by the combination of the electromagnetic field and the composition of the droplets about ten times as small as the opening where they come true, so that very small structures can be printed.

Another challenge the researchers are scaling up the process. The research paper can be found in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

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