Researchers print graphene
© University of Cambridge

Researchers print graphene-like materials

An international research team has developed inks made of graphene-like materials for inkjet printing.

New black phosphorous inks are compatible with conventional inkjet printing techniques for optoelectronics and photonics.

Professor Zhipei Sun at Aalto University in Finland said: “Our inkjet printing demonstration makes possible for the first time the scalable mass fabrication of black phosphorous-based photonic and optoelectronic devices with long-term stability necessary for a wide range of industrial applications.”

Scientists optimised the chemical composition to achieve a stable ink through the balance of complex and competing fluidic effects.

The researchers’ work demonstrated the benefits of their novel technique by inkjet printing devices that take advantage of the properties of black phosphorous.

Its semiconducting bandgap can be readily varied by engineering the number of atomic layers and can cover the visible and near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The researchers also demonstrated printed black phosphorous-based nonlinear optical devices that can be inserted into lasers to act as ultra-quick optical shutters, converting a continuous beam of laser radiation into a repetitive series of short bursts of light suited for industrial and medical applications, such as machining, imaging and sensing.

In the study, black phosphorous was also able to act as an efficient and responsive detector of light.

The new ink was developed by an interdisciplinary team of international researchers at Aalto University, University of Cambridge (UK), Imperial College London (UK) and Beihang University (China).

The research was supported by the Academy of Finland, Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, Nokia Foundation and the European Commission.