Will this new metal ink transform the eBook experience? January 12, 2014 – Posted in: Books and Technology

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Figure 6. (a) Optical image of a conductive pen loaded with a conductive Cu nanosheet ink. (b) Optical image of drawn conductive electronic art. (c) Optical image of a flexible paper display containing an LED array on paper.


A new report from a group of Chinese scientists just might hold the key needed to propel e-reading to a whole new level.

In the study, “metal ink was found to exhibit very interesting properties as a printing ink on flexible electronics, especially on paper substrates because it is environment friendly, recyclable, foldable, and lightweight.”

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Figure 5. Simulation images (a1–c1), SEM images of folding circuits (a2–c2), and high-resolution images of folding circuits (a3–c3). (d) Schematic diagrams of folding Cu nanosheet circuits.


What exactly does that mean to do those of use who are scientifically challenged and don’t know the difference between a nanoparticle and a nanosheet?

The technology could be applied to a new generation of bendable gadgets, such as electronic books that could potentially look and feel more like traditional paperbacks, and who knows they might eventually get the smell right too!

And from the image below it would seem to allow unlimited possibilities for artists and the book arts.

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Figure 4. Photographic images of the Cu nanosheet circuit that can support the LED chips on photocopy paper (a) without power and (b) powered by a 9 V battery. (c) Schematic diagrams of various folding angles. (d) Relative conductance of the Cu nanosheet circuits as a function of folding or unfolding cycle. (e) Array of LED chips on a circuit board, including negative and positive angle folding. (f) Bending process of the Cu nanosheet circuits under stress.


The next question is if it is going to mimic a paperback could hold up after repeated use.

And the answer is yes, “to test the ink’s flexibility, they folded the papers 1,000 times, even crumpling them up, and showed that the ink maintained 80 to 90 percent of its conductivity.”

For e-reading the future looks bendy.

Full report here

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