Print-in-Place Electronics for E-Tattoos and Custom Bandages

Electrical engineers at Duke University have developed a print-in-place technique for electronics that works on most surfaces, including paper and human skin. The engineers demonstrate that two electronically active leads directly printed along the underside of a finger successfully light up an LED when a voltage is applied. The advance could enable technologies for biomedical applications like embedded electronic tattoos and custom bandages with patient-specific biosensors. The Duke team first developed an ink containing silver nanowires that can be printed onto any substrate at low temperatures with an aerosol printer. It yields a thin film that maintains its conductivity without any further processing. The team then combined the conductive ink with two other printable components to create functional transistors.