Published: | By: Karina Zub, Stephanie Hoeppener, Ulrich S. Schubert
Inkjet printing – From office applications to medical devices
This Review article in Advanced Materials provides a timely summary of utilizing inkjet printing for the fabrication of sensors and diagnostic applications.
Inkjet printing has developed into a prime example where consumer electronics inspired technologies can be transferred to material engineering and prototyping issues. Instead of the colored inks which are found in office printers material scientists and engineers have found ways to replace these pigment-based inks with a broad variety of other materials. Despite of the fact that consumer inkjet printers can be bought in electronic and hardware stores for sometimes less than $ 50 they are highly sophisticated machines which allow to form tiny droplets with very small volumes of a few picoliters. Moreover, these droplets can be precisely deposited in dedicated areas – similar how a picture is printed in the office printer and they are rather fast in doing that. The produced pixels on the substrate are pretty small – just in the range of less than 100 µm in diameter (round about the thickness of a hair) – dimensions which are not trivially fabricated by hand. Moreover, the printhead can be filled up with up to 4 different materials which can be deposited in a single run onto a substrate with micrometer precision. Thus, inkjet printing has opened countless possibilities to fabricate and prototype new devices.
Consequently, during the last 15 years a lot of illustrative examples have been reported in the field of (bio-)sensors and diagnostic devices which we summarized in this review to provide an overview about new trends and new pathways to develop cheap and reliable sensor devices and diagnostic tools. Be inspired and find out what you can do with your office printer instead of printing “boring“ reports and lists.
You can find the complete article in Advanced Materials here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.202105015