The dream of ubiquitous technology revolves around cheaper materials, and polymer circuits could help make the dream a reality... if the solvents used to produce the circuits didn't cause more problems than they cured, that is. The National Technical University of Athens has developed a more exacting technique that, like most good things in science, solves the crisis with lasers. The approach fires a laser at a polymer layer (covered by quartz) to throw some of that polymer on to a receiving layer; by moving the two layers, the scientists can print virtually any 2D circuit without resorting to potentially damaging chemicals. Any leftover worries center mostly around risks of changing the chemical composition as well as the usual need to develop a reliable form of mass production. Any long-term success with laser-printed polymers, however, could lead to more affordable technology as well as more instances of flexible and wearable gear -- there might not be much of a downside to ditching the circuit status quo.
Athens university prints polymer circuits with lasers, speeds us towards low-cost electronics
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