At the expo floor for Strategies in Light Europe, I met representatives from DuPont that were showcasing DuPont’s innovations in conductive ink for printed and flexible electronics. Some really amazing stuff they were showing, including conductive inks in silver, copper, ceramic and carbon. They currently use a silk-screen process for applying the inks; they even had examples of multiple printed-passes where they can cross conductors by building up an insulating layer first.
On DuPont’s website, they offer an intriguing slide presentation for the Flex Tech Alliance titled “Advances in Printed Electronic Materials that Meet Cost and Performance Needs“. I’ve uploaded it for posterity here: DuPontFlexTechCAPE
There are numerous interesting concepts in the presentation, including:
- A discussion of paths to lower the costs of the inks
- The convergence of the high-speed, low-cost graphics printing industry with the electronics industry
- The opportunities to combine printed electronics on paper at large scale via the packaged good industry
- Their proposal for combining thermoforming plastic sheet stock and printed electronics to create thermoformed in-mold component assemblies — 3D components with integral wire traces
This technology is clearly the future for the lighting industry: The potential to radically lower fixture and architecture lighting systems costs in amazing.