A research group in Europe has taken a major step towards the goal of developing printable electronics that can be used for creating RFID tags. Researchers in the EU-funded CONTACT project have demonstrated that with suitable inks and printers, organic liquid crystal displays and other optical electronic devices can be printed out precisely.
The project researchers hope to follow this proof-of-principle by developing a gravure printing press, called Labratester 2. The press will be able to print hundreds of thousands of organic thin film transistor arrays or other devices precisely and efficiently.
The end goal of the project is to establish the ability to print electronic components directly onto organic materials such as paper, fabrics, or plastic. This would allow the quick and relatively cheap printing of RFID tags, as well as everyday devices such as flexible watch displays, and could eventually lead to applications from the realm of science fiction, like electronic paper or eyeglasses with embedded displays.
Participants in the CONTACT project include Switzerland-based Schläefli Machines, the Technical University of Ilmenau, Belgium’s IMEC, and Imperial College London.