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American Chemical Society Chemistry for Life - Paper electronics could make healthcare more accessible

DCN Corp® - Paper-based, inexpensive sensors could make medical diagnostic tests more accessible. Credit - American Chemical Society Chemistry for Life, Applied Materials and InterfacesPlease Note citable via "Direct writing on paper of foldable capacitive touch pads with Silve nanowire inks" - ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

Flexible electronic sensors based on paper - an inexpensive material - have the potential to reduce the price of a wide range of medical tools, from helpful robots-to-diagnostic tests.  Research scientists have managed to develop a fast, low-cost way of making such sensors by directly printing conductive ink on to paper.  The researchers published their advances in the journal of ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. [1]

Anming Hu et al. highlighted that because paper is available worldwide at a low cost, that it makes an excellent surface for lightweight, foldable electronics, which could be made and employed nearly anywhere.  Previously scientists have fabricated paper based Point-of-Care (PoC) diagnostic tests and portable DNA detectors.  However, these require complicated and expensive manufacturing techniques.  For example, Silver (Ag) nanowire ink, which is highly conductive and stable, offers a more practical solution.  Hu's team wanted to develop a way to print direct on to paper to ensure that the sensor could respond to touch or specific molecules, such as glucose.

Essentially the researchers developed a system for printing a pattern of Ag ink on to paper within a few minutes and then hardened the surface with the light of a camera flash.  The resulting device responded to touch even when curved, folded and unfolded 15 times as well as rolled and unrolled 5,000 times.  In conclusion, the team stated that their durable, lightweight sensor could serve as the basis for many useful applications. Original article available here

Excitingly the above research continues to highlight the potential of coating on to a variety of base substrates. As stated previously, DCN Corp strongly believes it can contribute, by increasing in manufacturing efficiency, inexpensiveness and accuracy. Going forward, if you and/or your colleagues are interested in making DCN Corp's alternative process reality - please ensure to contact the company as soon as practicably possible.

[1] Li, R. Z., Hu, A., Zhang, T., and Oakes, K. D. Direct writing on paper of foldable capacitive touch pads with Silver nanowire inks. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 6, 23, 21721-21729 (2014) Journal citation available here