A low-cost, high-speed method for printing graphene inks using a conventional roll-to-roll printing process, like that used to print newspapers, could open up a wide range of practical applications, including inexpensive printed electronics, intelligent packaging, and disposable sensors. The method allows graphene and other electrically conducting materials to be added to conventional water-based inks and printed using typical commercial equipment, the first time that graphene has been used for printing on a large-scale commercial printing press at high speed.
The method works by suspending tiny particles of graphene in a ‘carrier’ solvent mixture, which is added to conductive water-based ink formulations. The same method works for materials other than graphene, including metallic, semiconducting and insulating nanoparticles. The new method uses cheap, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly solvents that can be dried quickly at room temperature, reducing energy costs for ink curing.