An Eco-Friendly Conductive Ink For Thin-Film Electronics


A technical paper titled “Recyclable Thin-Film Soft Electronics for Smart Packaging and E-Skins” was published by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and University of Coimbra.


Despite advances in soft, sticker-like electronics, few efforts have dealt with the challenge of electronic waste. Here, this is addressed by introducing an eco-friendly conductive ink for thin-film circuitry composed of silver flakes and a water-based polyurethane dispersion. This ink uniquely combines high electrical conductivity (1.6 × 105 S m−1), high resolution digital printability, robust adhesion for microchip integration, mechanical resilience, and recyclability. Recycling is achieved with an ecologically-friendly processing method to decompose the circuits into constituent elements and recover the conductive ink with a decrease of only 2.4% in conductivity. Moreover, adding liquid metal enables stretchability of up to 200% strain, although this introduces the need for more complex recycling steps. Finally, on-skin electrophysiological monitoring biostickers along with a recyclable smart package with integrated sensors for monitoring safe storage of perishable foods are demonstrated.

Find the technical paper here. Published July 2023.

Reis Carneiro, M., de Almeida, A. T., Tavakoli, M., Majidi, C., Recyclable Thin-Film Soft Electronics for Smart Packaging and E-Skins. Adv. Sci. 2023, 2301673. https://doi.org/10.1002/advs.202301673

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