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The Ultimate Printed Circuits

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posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 08:56 AM
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You know how the circuits on silicon chips are normally printed on? I forgot what the technique is called, but it's not exatly print like 'out of the printer' kind of print. Well, the geniuses from Japan have designed a method of printing circuits on chips with inkjet printers.

Well not exactly, but they're very, very close.


Spray on silicon to coat chips

Japanese researchers have made a liquid form of silicon they say might one day be sprayed onto chips with an inkjet printer.

A team led by Masahiro Furusawa of Japan's Seiko Epson Corporation, says the new form of silicon is easier and cheaper to make than conventional silicon, yet works just as well.

The researchers report their work today in the journal Nature.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Do you know what the significance of this breakthrough is? Right now silicon chips are expensive because it's tedious to manufacture. It has to be perfectly grown. The slightest impurity and the whole batch is done for.

Now if you could simply print the circuits and chips, you can expect the price of electronic gadgets to go down considerably. Let's not talk about high end stuff yet. I'm talking about simple stuff like a TV or your standard cellphone with no frills.

Heck, perhaps you can even upgrade your phone's circuitry by printing out a circuitboard you downloaded of the net. That would be something. Or what if you're running low on computer RAM? No worries, we can just download this PDF and print us a new 1GB chip.... ok, I'm getting ahead of myself




posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 09:09 AM
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This sounds great!!

I was reading somewhere that cell-phones whould come down in price to say $2-5 or something like that in a few years.. dont really know where i read that.. but it might be connected to this tech



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 02:01 AM
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I'm just finishing up a semester at school where I am taking a course in microfabrication, and so I think that this invention is *really* cool. A silicon wafer that is 6 inches/150mm in diameter costs something like $100 to make, I was told. The reason is, as Beachcoma said, because the whole thing has to be grown exactly right. A silicon wafer is a single perfect crystal, and the slightest contaminants, most notably oxygen, but almost any material, really, if it reacts with the surface, will spoil it.

Oh, and for how circuits are normally printed on silicon, you are probably thinking of "lithography". I've actually performed lithography in a lab, and it's really hard to get it to work just right. And if you mess up, well, you just crapped away about a hundred bucks of silicon, plus all the chemicals and lab time you wasted in processing. (my clumsy TA *dropped* my silicon wafer after I spent six hours of lab time processing it, lol; fortunately, I didn't have to pay for it, since it wasn't my fault)

The article says they don't think this spray will be useful for high density circuits, but might see use one day in simpler circuits. I am most interested in the last sentence of this article, though:


The Japanese team's method doesn't need high vacuums, high temperatures or ultra-clean environments.


High vacuum chambers = tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on quality

High temperatures = lots of power, and also expensive

Ultra-clean environments = a royal pain to work in (gowning up in cleanroom suits sucks, as I had to do that) plus the clean rooms cost millions of dollars; even the tiny one at my university cost something crazy like thirty million bucks, and I don't even want to know what the maintenance costs are.

So bottom line seems to be that this technology probably won't replace current silicon tech, but for less critical applications, it might make them orders of magnitude cheaper, which is always a good thing



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 02:17 AM
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Originally posted by DragonsDemesne
So bottom line seems to be that this technology probably won't replace current silicon tech, but for less critical applications, it might make them orders of magnitude cheaper, which is always a good thing


So will it still work with cheap cellphones? I'm talking about basic send and receive calls and sms type of service.

I can see now, cheap packs of cellphones sold at shops like cigarretes, all with a preloaded set amount of credit. Totally disposable. Maybe just with the ability to make calls if security is a concern. Then you can sell them vending-machine style.

Marvellous!



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 09:57 PM
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If/when this tech is perfected, I could certainly see it lowering the cost of cellphones a little bit, but there's a lot more than just the pure silicon crystal that makes the cost of producing complex ICs expensive.

During lithography, for example, you need a material called 'photoresist' that you coat the silicon wafer with. A tiny bottle that is roughly the size of a pop can costs something like a few hundred dollars a bottle, at least for the stuff we used at school. (and my school is pretty cheap, so there's probably more expensive stuff out there, too) Then the developer, which is used to remove unwanted photoresist, is really expensive too, although I think it's not as pricy as the resist, but you use more of it per chip than you do of the resist. Oh, and if you have multiple layers on your IC (and anything that is even a tiny bit complex has multiple layers; even stuff like resistors, capacitors, and inductors, which I made in micro size in the lab, needed 3 lithography steps; a pentium chip needs something like 28 layers) then you need to go through the resist/developer process multiple times per chip. And if you mess up one layer, it doesn't work, and the chip is garbage.

So yeah, this might lower cellphone prices a bit, but it would be like if a car manufacturer found a way to make their tires for a dollar each. It would definitely lower the cost of the car, but everything else still costs a lot. Same with the silicon chips. You would be decreasing the price of only one component of the entire process. The people who will most likely realize the real savings with this tech are the manufacturers, who even if they save a tiny amount of $$ per chip, when you multiply it by thousands or millions of chips, will save a ton. As the consumer, you probably won't notice much of a difference. But, don't lose hope, it's advances like this that help contribute to the ever decreasing costs of consumer electronics. Twenty five years ago, my dad had an ancient IBM PC at work that cost over $100,000, and today I have a calculator that cost $100 with more computational power. There wasn't any quantum leap in technology there, just lots of incremental improvements like this cool spray-silicon thing, that accumulate over time.



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 10:29 PM
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I don't know if this is the same technique or not, but this lady invented this in 1999.

LINK


The 2" by 3" cell phone will be manufactured by Altschul's Cliffside Park, New Jersey company, Dieceland Technologies. The entire phone body, touch pad and circuit board will be made of paper substrate. The paper-thin cell phone uses an elongated flexible circuit which will be one piece with the body of the phone, part of the patented STTTM technology. The ultra thin circuitry is made by applying metallic conductive inks to paper.


Just wanted to throw this in the mix.

JDub



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 10:45 PM
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Originally posted by BlueTileSpook
I don't know if this is the same technique or not, but this lady invented this in 1999.

LINK


The 2" by 3" cell phone will be manufactured by Altschul's Cliffside Park, New Jersey company, Dieceland Technologies. The entire phone body, touch pad and circuit board will be made of paper substrate. The paper-thin cell phone uses an elongated flexible circuit which will be one piece with the body of the phone, part of the patented STTTM technology. The ultra thin circuitry is made by applying metallic conductive inks to paper.


Just wanted to throw this in the mix.

JDub


No it's not the same technique. That was all about printing circuits out with a printer using magnetic ink. This is about printing out sheets of silicon.

Also if it's demonstrated that the ink jet method is just as good as tradition lithography techniques or potentially even better, this could be a huge boon for Fablab technology(I just had to point out the obvious, sorry
).



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 10:53 PM
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Okay, thank you for the clarification, Sardion. I am having a bit of brain fog this evening and I couldn't figure it out for myself for whatever reason.

Both ideas sound as if they may lower the price of phones in the future, and I hope they do. The wife and I have gone through 7 phones in the last three years, the seventh phone being the addition of our oldest son onto our phone plan. I hate the cost of those things.

JDub



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 11:03 PM
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7 phones?!?!?!?!!!!?!11!!1/??/

I've gone through 3 in the last 15.(Though I do burn through them video cards pretty quickly, 4 in last 2 years heh)

Cell Phones are just the tip of the iceberg. If they can get the silicon fluid to bake at a lower temperature, say in the range of conventional ovens, it could revolutionize the entire industry(by making the way they previous had gone about doing business completely obsolete). It's not an overnight process of course, and the "Big Fab" trend seems to be accelerating. There could be a lot of broke semi-fabs, with a bunch of high-tech yet obsolete equipment going to the bankruptsy auctions in the next decade or two.


This is all contingent on how refined this process becomes of course. We already know how to print out circuits with Ink Jets as was demonstrated above.



posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 12:26 AM
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I wonder how much the inket printer would cost, or how much the cartridges. I don't think anyone anytime in a longtime will be buying inket printers with cartridges to produce their own electronics. It sounds fine, but it seems like I have heard this argument in one form or another over the last 10 years, and besides, the real breathroughs are in computer science and not as much in engineering and science of materials.



posted on Apr, 9 2006 @ 05:07 AM
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This idea would work well with turning lunar soil into solar cells to produce energy and beam it back to Earth.

The biggest upsurge in technology in the history of humankind is on it's way now. By 2010, the amount of usefull knowledge in the world will be doubling every minute. AI, everlasting Health, warp drive, time-travel, you name it, may soon be possible.

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posted on Jan, 1 2009 @ 12:18 AM
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I am working on a project called Hybrid electric Vehicle. I want to use a solar plate in this vehicle. Can anyone give me the idea of how to use it?


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