Roll-to-roll laser-induced superplasticity, prints metals at the nanoscale needed for making ultrafast electronic devices
The researchers at Purdue University developed a manufacturing technique that uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and flexible metals.
The technique combines with the existing tools used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale. But it works on the principle of the speed and precision of roll-to-roll newspaper printing to remove a couple of fabrication barriers in making electronics faster than they are today.
Induce superelastic behaviour
To combat the issues of roughness and low resolution of metal circuits, a fabrication method was developed to enable the formation of smooth metallic circuits at the nanoscale using conventional carbon dioxide lasers.
The fabrication method, called roll-to-roll laser-induced superplasticity, uses a rolling stamp like the ones used to print newspapers at high speed. The technique can induce superelastic behaviour for a brief period of time to different metals by applying high-energy laser shots, which enables the metal to flow into the nanoscale features of the rolling stamp circumventing the formability limit.
Hence, printing tiny metal components like newspapers makes them much smoother. This allows an electric current to travel better with less risk of overheating.
It is also said that in future, the roll-to-roll fabrication of devices could enable the creation of touch screens covered with nanostructures capable of interacting with light and generating 3D images as well as the cost-effective fabrication of more sensitive biosensors.