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Tue 10-Nov-2009 06:14 | Xerox has developed a new type of ink made from silver that could eventually help build more flexible electronics. The ink can be used to print circuits onto films, textiles and plastics. While printing onto flexible objects isn’t entirely new, Xerox’s method (dubbed “silver bullet”) is cheaper and easier to use, adding to the potential for innovation down the road.
This new ink is made from silver and is capable of conducting electricity while maintaining a melting point which is lower than that of plastic. This temperature difference is a very important part of the Xerox development. The melting point of silver is 962 degrees C while typical plastics melt at a much cooler 150 degrees C, making it very hard to transfer the metal ink to the plastic before that plastic melts. Xerox hopes this new ink and process could lead to innovations such as printing circuits on flexible plastic, and then folding that plastic for a flexible electronic device. Another possible application would be in developing a lighter weight and easier to carry e-book reader that can deal with more reckless handling than current models. Other ideas like weaving circuits into clothing, lower cost RFID tags or more flexible road signs and solar panels could also make great innovations that utilize this new ink.
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