Printed electronics is a set of printing methods used to create electrical devices on various substrates. Printing typically uses common printing equipment suitable for defining patterns on material, such as screen printing, flexography, gravure, offset lithography, and inkjet. By electronic industry standards, these are low cost processes. Electrically functional electronic or optical inks are deposited on the substrate, creating active or passive devices, such as thin film transistors; capacitors; coils; resistors. Printed electronics is expected to facilitate widespread, very low-cost, low-performance electronics for applications such as flexible displays, smart labels, decorative and animated posters, and active clothing that do not require high performance.
Printing is a process for reproducing text and images using a master form or template. The earliest non-paper products involving printing include cylinder seals and objects such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Cylinders of Nabonidus. The earliest known form of printing as applied to paper was woodblock printing, which appeared in China before 220 AD. Later developments in printing technology include the movable type invented by Bi Sheng around 1040 AD and the printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. The technology of printing played a key role in the development of the Renaissance and the scientific revolution, and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
Screen printing is a printing technique whereby a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil. A blade or squeegee is moved across the screen to fill the open mesh apertures with ink, and a reverse stroke then causes the screen to touch the substrate momentarily along a line of contact. This causes the ink to wet the substrate and be pulled out of the mesh apertures as the screen springs back after the blade has passed. One color is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multicoloured image or design.
Flexography is a form of printing process which utilizes a flexible relief plate. It is essentially a modern version of letterpress which can be used for printing on almost any type of substrate, including plastic, metallic films, cellophane, and paper. It is widely used for printing on the non-porous substrates required for various types of food packaging.
The term printed electronics is often related to organic electronics or plastic electronics, in which one or more inks are composed of carbon-based compounds. These other terms refer to the ink material, which can be deposited by solution-based, vacuum-based or other processes. Printed electronics, in contrast, specifies the process, and, subject to the specific requirements of the printing process selected, can utilize any solution-based material. This includes organic semiconductors, inorganic semiconductors, metallic conductors, nanoparticles, and nanotubes.
Organic electronics is a field of materials science concerning the design, synthesis, characterization, and application of organic small molecules or polymers that show desirable electronic properties such as conductivity. Unlike conventional inorganic conductors and semiconductors, organic electronic materials are constructed from organic (carbon-based) small molecules or polymers using synthetic strategies developed in the context of organic and polymer chemistry. One of the promised benefits of organic electronics is their potential low cost compared to traditional inorganic electronics. Attractive properties of polymeric conductors include their electrical conductivity that can be varied by the concentrations of dopants. Relative to metals, they have mechanical flexibility. Some have high thermal stability.
Organic semiconductors are solids whose building blocks are pi-bonded molecules or polymers made up by carbon and hydrogen atoms and – at times – heteroatoms such as nitrogen, sulfur and oxygen. They exist in form of molecular crystals or amorphous thin films. In general, they are electrical insulators, but become semiconducting when charges are either injected from appropriate electrodes, upon doping or by photoexcitation.
A semiconductor material has an electrical conductivity value falling between that of a conductor, such as metallic copper, and an insulator, such as glass. Its resistance decreases as its temperature increases, which is the behaviour opposite to that of a metal. Its conducting properties may be altered in useful ways by the deliberate, controlled introduction of impurities ("doping") into the crystal structure. Where two differently-doped regions exist in the same crystal, a semiconductor junction is created. The behavior of charge carriers which include electrons, ions and electron holes at these junctions is the basis of diodes, transistors and all modern electronics. Some examples of semiconductors are silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide, and elements near the so-called "metalloid staircase" on the periodic table. After silicon, gallium arsenide is the second most common semiconductor and is used in laser diodes, solar cells, microwave-frequency integrated circuits and others. Silicon is a critical element for fabricating most electronic circuits.
For the preparation of printed electronics nearly all industrial printing methods are employed. Similar to conventional printing, printed electronics applies ink layers one atop another.So the coherent development of printing methods and ink materials are the field's essential tasks.
The most important benefit of printing is low-cost volume fabrication. The lower cost enables use in more applications.An example is RFID-systems, which enable contactless identification in trade and transport. In some domains, such as light-emitting diodes printing does not impact performance. Printing on flexible substrates allows electronics to be placed on curved surfaces, for example, printing solar cells on vehicle roofs. More typically, conventional semiconductors justify their much higher costs by providing much higher performance.
The maximum required resolution of structures in conventional printing is determined by the human eye. Feature sizes smaller than approximately 20 µm cannot be distinguished by the human eye and consequently exceed the capabilities of conventional printing processes. In contrast, higher resolution and smaller structures are necessary in much electronics printing, because they directly affect circuit density and functionality (especially transistors). A similar requirement holds for the precision with which layers are printed on top of each other (layer to layer registration).
Control of thickness, holes, and material compatibility (wetting, adhesion, solubility) are essential, but matter in conventional printing only if the eye can detect them. Conversely, the visual impression is irrelevant for printed electronics.
The attraction of printing technology for the fabrication of electronics mainly results from the possibility of preparing stacks of micro-structured layers (and thereby thin-film devices) in a much simpler and cost-effective way compared to conventional electronics.Also, the ability to implement new or improved functionalities (e.g. mechanical flexibility) plays a role. The selection of the printing method used is determined by requirements concerning printed layers, by the properties of printed materials as well as economic and technical considerations of the final printed products.
Printing technologies divide between sheet-based and roll-to-roll-based approaches. Sheet-based inkjet and screen printing are best for low-volume, high-precision work. Gravure, offset and flexographic printing are more common for high-volume production, such as solar cells, reaching 10.000 square meters per hour (m²/h).While offset and flexographic printing are mainly used for inorganic and organic conductors (the latter also for dielectrics), gravure printing is especially suitable for quality-sensitive layers like organic semiconductors and semiconductor/dielectric-interfaces in transistors, due to high layer quality. If high resolution is needed, gravure is also suitable for inorganic and organic conductors. Organic field-effect transistors and integrated circuits can be prepared completely by means of mass-printing methods.
Inkjets are flexible and versatile, and can be set up with relatively low effort. m2/h and lower resolution (ca. 50 µm). It is well suited for low-viscosity, soluble materials like organic semiconductors. With high-viscosity materials, like organic dielectrics, and dispersed particles, like inorganic metal inks, difficulties due to nozzle clogging occur. Because ink is deposited via droplets, thickness and dispersion homogeneity is reduced. Using many nozzles simultaneously and pre-structuring the substrate allows improvements in productivity and resolution, respectively. However, in the latter case non-printing methods must be employed for the actual patterning step. Inkjet printing is preferable for organic semiconductors in organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), but also OFETs completely prepared by this method have been demonstrated. Frontplanes and backplanes of OLED-displays, integrated circuits, organic photovoltaic cells (OPVCs) and other devices can be prepared with inkjets.However, inkjets offer lower throughput of around 100
Screen printing is appropriate for fabricating electrics and electronics due to its ability to produce patterned, thick layers from paste-like materials. This method can produce conducting lines from inorganic materials (e.g. for circuit boards and antennas), but also insulating and passivating layers, whereby layer thickness is more important than high resolution. Its 50 m²/h throughput and 100 µm resolution are similar to inkjets. This versatile and comparatively simple method is used mainly for conductive and dielectric layers, but also organic semiconductors, e.g. for OPVCs, and even complete OFETs can be printed.
Aerosol Jet Printing (also known as Maskless Mesoscale Materials Deposition or M3D) µm. The jet of droplets exits the print head at high velocity (~50 meters/second) and impinges upon the substrate.is another material deposition technology for printed electronics. The Aerosol Jet process begins with atomization of an ink, via ultrasonic or pneumatic means, producing droplets on the order of one to two micrometres in diameter. The droplets then flow through a virtual impactor which deflects the droplets having lower momentum away from the stream. This step helps maintaining a tight droplet size distribution. The droplets are entrained in a gas stream and delivered to the print head. Here, an annular flow of clean gas is introduced around the aerosol stream to focus the droplets into a tightly collimated beam of material. The combined gas streams exit the print head through a converging nozzle that compresses the aerosol stream to a diameter as small as 10
Electrical interconnects, passive and active components µm wide, with layer thicknesses from tens of nanometers to >10 µm. A wide nozzle print head enables efficient patterning of millimeter size electronic features and surface coating applications. All printing occurs without the use of vacuum or pressure chambers. The high exit velocity of the jet enables a relatively large separation between the print head and the substrate, typically 2–5 mm. The droplets remain tightly focused over this distance, resulting in the ability to print conformal patterns over three dimensional substrates.are formed by moving the print head, equipped with a mechanical stop/start shutter, relative to the substrate. The resulting patterns can have features ranging from 10
Despite the high velocity, the printing process is gentle; substrate damage does not occur and there is generally minimal splatter or overspray from the droplets.Once patterning is complete, the printed ink typically requires post treatment to attain final electrical and mechanical properties. Post-treatment is driven more by the specific ink and substrate combination than by the printing process. A wide range of materials has been successfully deposited with the Aerosol Jet process, including diluted thick film pastes, nanoparticle inks, thermosetting polymers such as UV-curable epoxies, and solvent-based polymers like polyurethane and polyimide, and biologic materials.
Evaporation printing uses a combination of high precision screen printing with material vaporization to print features to 5 µm. This method uses techniques such as thermal, e-beam, sputter and other traditional production technologies to deposit materials through a high precision shadow mask (or stencil) that is registered to the substrate to better than 1 micrometer. By layering different mask designs and/or adjusting materials, reliable, cost-effective circuits can be built additively, without the use of photolithography.
Other methods with similarities to printing, among them microcontact printing and nano-imprint lithography are of interest.Here, µm- and nm-sized layers, respectively, are prepared by methods similar to stamping with soft and hard forms, respectively. Often the actual structures are prepared subtractively, e.g. by deposition of etch masks or by lift-off processes. For example, electrodes for OFETs can be prepared. Sporadically pad printing is used in a similar manner. Occasionally so-called transfer methods, where solid layers are transferred from a carrier to the substrate, are considered printed electronics. Electrophotography is currently not used in printed electronics.
Both organic and inorganic materials are used for printed electronics. Ink materials must be available in liquid form, for solution, dispersion or suspension.They must function as conductors, semiconductors, dielectrics, or insulators. Material costs must be fit for the application.
Electronic functionality and printability can interfere with each other, mandating careful optimization.For example, a higher molecular weight in polymers enhances conductivity, but diminishes solubility. For printing, viscosity, surface tension and solid content must be tightly controlled. Cross-layer interactions such as wetting, adhesion, and solubility as well as post-deposition drying procedures affect the outcome. Additives often used in conventional printing inks are unavailable, because they often defeat electronic functionality.
Material properties largely determine the differences between printed and conventional electronics. Printable materials provide decisive advantages beside printability, such as mechanical flexibility and functional adjustment by chemical modification (e.g. light color in OLEDs).
Printed conductors offer lower conductivity and charge carrier mobility.
With a few exceptions, inorganic ink materials are dispersions of metallic or semiconducting micro- and nano-particles. Semiconducting nanoparticles used include siliconand oxide semiconductors. Silicon is also printed as an organic precursor which is then converted by pyrolisis and annealing into crystalline silicon.
PMOS but not CMOS is possible in printed electronics.
Organic printed electronics integrates knowledge and developments from printing, electronics, chemistry, and materials science, especially from organic and polymer chemistry. Organic materials in part differ from conventional electronics in terms of structure, operation and functionality,which influences device and circuit design and optimization as well as fabrication method.
The discovery of conjugated polymersand their development into soluble materials provided the first organic ink materials. Materials from this class of polymers variously possess conducting, semiconducting, electroluminescent, photovoltaic and other properties. Other polymers are used mostly as insulators and dielectrics.
In most organic materials, hole transport is favored over electron transport.Recent studies indicate that this is a specific feature of organic semiconductor/dielectric-interfaces, which play a major role in OFETs. Therefore, p-type devices should dominate over n-type devices. Durability (resistance to dispersion) and lifetime is less than conventional materials.
Organic semiconductors include the conductive polymers poly(3,4-ethylene dioxitiophene), doped with poly(styrene sulfonate), (PEDOT:PSS) and poly(aniline) (PANI). Both polymers are commercially available in different formulations and have been printed using inkjet,screen and offset printing or screen, flexo and gravure printing, respectively.
Polymer semiconductors are processed using inkjet printing, such as poly(thiopene)s like poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT)and poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene co-bithiophen) (F8T2). The latter material has also been gravure printed. Different electroluminescent polymers are used with inkjet printing, as well as active materials for photovoltaics (e.g. blends of P3HT with fullerene derivatives), which in part also can be deposited using screen printing (e.g. blends of poly(phenylene vinylene) with fullerene derivatives).
Printable organic and inorganic insulators and dielectrics exist, which can be processed with different printing methods.
Inorganic electronics provides highly ordered layers and interfaces that organic and polymer materials cannot provide.
Silver nanoparticles are used with flexo,offset and inkjet. Gold particles are used with inkjet.
A.C. electroluminescent (EL) multi-color displays can cover many tens of square meters, or be incorporated in watch faces and instrument displays. They involve six to eight printed inorganic layers, including a copper doped phosphor, on a plastic film substrate.
CIGS cells can be printed directly onto molybdenum coated glass sheets.
A printed gallium arsenide germanium solar cell demonstrated 40.7% conversion efficiency, eight times that of the best organic cells, approaching the best performance of crystalline silicon.
Printed electronics allows the use of flexible substrates, which lowers production costs and allows fabrication of mechanically flexible circuits. While inkjet and screen printing typically imprint rigid substrates like glass and silicon, mass-printing methods nearly exclusively use flexible foil and paper. Poly(ethylene terephthalate)-foil (PET) is a common choice, due to its low cost and moderately high temperature stability. Poly(ethylene naphthalate)- (PEN) and poly(imide)-foil (PI) are higher performance, higher cost alternatives. Paper's low costs and manifold applications make it an attractive substrate, however, its high roughness and high wettability have traditionally made it problematic for electronics. This is an active research area, however, and print-compatible metal deposition techniques have been demonstrated that adapt to the rough 3D surface geometry of paper .
Other important substrate criteria are low roughness and suitable wet-ability, which can be tuned pre-treatment by use of coating or Corona discharge. In contrast to conventional printing, high absorbency is usually disadvantageous.
Albert Hanson, a German by birth, is credited to have introduced the concept of printed electronics. in 1903 he filled a patent for “Printed Wires,” and thus printed electronics were born.Hanson proposed forming a Printed Circuit Board pattern on copper foil through cutting or stamping. The drawn elements were glued to the dielectric, in this case, paraffined paper. The first printed circuit was produced in 1936 by Paul Eisler, and that process was used for large-scale production of radios by the USA during World War II. Printed circuit technology was released for commercial use in the USA in 1948 (Printed Circuits Handbook, 1995). In the over a half-century since its inception, printed electronics has evolved from the production of printed circuit boards (PCBs), through the everyday use of membrane switches, to today’s RFID, photovoltaic and electroluminescent technologies. Today it is nearly impossible to look around a modern American household and not see devices that either uses printed electronic components or that are the direct result of printed electronic technologies. Widespread production of printed electronics for household use began in the 1960s when the Printed Circuit Board became the foundation for all consumer electronics. Since then printed electronics have become a cornerstone in many new commercial products.
The biggest trend in recent history when it comes to printed electronics is the widespread use of them in solar cells. In 2011, researchers from MIT created a flexible solar cell by inkjet printing on normal paper.In 2018, researchers at Rice University have developed organic solar cells which can be painted or printed onto surfaces. These solar cells have been shown to max out at fifteen percent efficiency. Konarka Technologies, now a defunct company in the USA, was the pioneering company in producing inkjet solar cells. Today there are more than fifty companies across a diverse number of countries that are producing printed solar cells.
While printed electronics have been around since the 1960s, they are predicted to have a major boom in total revenue. As of 2011, the total printed electronic revenue was reported to be at $12,385 (million). A report by IDTechEx predicts the PE market will reach $330 (billion) in 2027 . A big reason for this increase in revenue is because of the incorporation of printed electronic into cellphones. Nokia was one of the companies that pioneered the idea of creating a “Morph” phone using printed electronics. Since then, Apple has implemented this technology into their iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR devices. Printed electronics can be used to make all of the following components of a cellphone: 3D main antenna, GPS antenna, energy storage, 3D interconnections, multi-layer PCB, edge circuits, ITO jumpers, hermetic seals, LED packaging, and tactile feedback.
With the revolutionary discoveries and advantages that printed electronic gives to companies many large companies have made recent investments into this technology. In 2007, Soligie Inc. and Thinfilm Electronics entered into an agreement to combine IPs for soluble memory materials and functional materials printing to develop printed memory in commercial volumes.LG announce significant investment, potentially $8.71 billion in OLEDs on Plastic. Sharp (Foxconn) will invest $570m in pilot line for OLED displays. BOE announce potential $6.8 billion in flexible AMOLED fab. Heliatek has secured €80m in additional funding for OPV manufacturing in Dresden. PragmatIC has raised ~ €20m from investors including Avery Dennison. Thinfilm invests in new production site in Silicon Valley (formerly owned by Qualcomm). Cambrios back in business after acquisition by TPK.
Printed electronics are in use or under consideration for:
Norwegian company ThinFilm demonstrated roll-to-roll printed organic memory in 2009.
Technical standards and roadmapping initiatives are intended to facilitate value chain development (for sharing of product specifications, characterization standards, etc.) This strategy of standards development mirrors the approach used by silicon-based electronics over the past 50 years. Initiatives include:
IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries has published three standards for printed electronics. All three have been published in cooperation with the Japan Electronic Packaging and Circuits Association (JPCA):
These standards, and others in development, are part of IPC’s Printed Electronics Initiative.
Molecular electronics is the study and application of molecular building blocks for the fabrication of electronic components. It is an interdisciplinary area that spans physics, chemistry, and materials science. The unifying feature is use of molecular building blocks to fabricate electronic components. Due to the prospect of size reduction in electronics offered by molecular-level control of properties, molecular electronics has generated much excitement. It provides a potential means to extend Moore's Law beyond the foreseen limits of small-scale conventional silicon integrated circuits.
Inkjet printing is a type of computer printing that recreates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper, plastic, or other substrates. Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer, and range from small inexpensive consumer models to expensive professional machines.
In the field of electronic devices, roll-to-roll processing, also known as web processing, reel-to-reel processing or R2R, is the process of creating electronic devices on a roll of flexible plastic or metal foil. In other fields predating this use, it can refer to any process of applying coatings, printing, or performing other processes starting with a roll of a flexible material and re-reeling after the process to create an output roll. These processes, and others such as sheeting, can be grouped together under the general term converting. When the rolls of material have been coated, laminated or printed they can be subsequently slit to their finished size on a slitter rewinder.
Flexible electronics, also known as flex circuits, is a technology for assembling electronic circuits by mounting electronic devices on flexible plastic substrates, such as polyimide, PEEK or transparent conductive polyester film. Additionally, flex circuits can be screen printed silver circuits on polyester. Flexible electronic assemblies may be manufactured using identical components used for rigid printed circuit boards, allowing the board to conform to a desired shape, or to flex during its use. An alternative approach to flexible electronics suggests various etching techniques to thin down the traditional silicon substrate to few tens of micrometers to gain reasonable flexibility, referred to as flexible silicon.
Conductive polymers or, more precisely, intrinsically conducting polymers (ICPs) are organic polymers that conduct electricity. Such compounds may have metallic conductivity or can be semiconductors. The biggest advantage of conductive polymers is their processability, mainly by dispersion. Conductive polymers are generally not thermoplastics, i.e., they are not thermoformable. But, like insulating polymers, they are organic materials. They can offer high electrical conductivity but do not show similar mechanical properties to other commercially available polymers. The electrical properties can be fine-tuned using the methods of organic synthesis and by advanced dispersion techniques.
A thin film is a layer of material ranging from fractions of a nanometer (monolayer) to several micrometers in thickness. The controlled synthesis of materials as thin films is a fundamental step in many applications. A familiar example is the household mirror, which typically has a thin metal coating on the back of a sheet of glass to form a reflective interface. The process of silvering was once commonly used to produce mirrors, while more recently the metal layer is deposited using techniques such as sputtering. Advances in thin film deposition techniques during the 20th century have enabled a wide range of technological breakthroughs in areas such as magnetic recording media, electronic semiconductor devices, LEDs, optical coatings, hard coatings on cutting tools, and for both energy generation and storage. It is also being applied to pharmaceuticals, via thin-film drug delivery. A stack of thin films is called a multilayer.
A flexible organic light-emitting diode (FOLED) is a type of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) incorporating a flexible plastic substrate on which the electroluminescent organic semiconductor is deposited. This enables the device to be bent or rolled while still operating. Currently the focus of research in industrial and academic groups, flexible OLEDs form one method of fabricating a rollable display.
An organic field-effect transistor (OFET) is a field-effect transistor using an organic semiconductor in its channel. OFETs can be prepared either by vacuum evaporation of small molecules, by solution-casting of polymers or small molecules, or by mechanical transfer of a peeled single-crystalline organic layer onto a substrate. These devices have been developed to realize low-cost, large-area electronic products and biodegradable electronics. OFETs have been fabricated with various device geometries. The most commonly used device geometry is bottom gate with top drain and source electrodes, because this geometry is similar to the thin-film silicon transistor (TFT) using thermally grown SiO2 as gate dielectric. Organic polymers, such as poly(methyl-methacrylate) (PMMA), can also be used as dielectric.
PEDOT:PSS or poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate is a polymer mixture of two ionomers. One component in this mixture is made up of sodium polystyrene sulfonate which is a sulfonated polystyrene. Part of the sulfonyl groups are deprotonated and carry a negative charge. The other component poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) or PEDOT is a conjugated polymer and carries positive charges and is based on polythiophene. Together the charged macromolecules form a macromolecular salt.
Hybrid solar cells combine advantages of both organic and inorganic semiconductors. Hybrid photovoltaics have organic materials that consist of conjugated polymers that absorb light as the donor and transport holes. Inorganic materials in hybrid cells are used as the acceptor and electron transporter in the structure. The hybrid photovoltaic devices have a potential for not only low-cost by roll-to-roll processing but also for scalable solar power conversion.
Ultrasonic nozzles are a type of spray nozzle that uses high frequency vibration produced by piezoelectric transducers acting upon the nozzle tip that will create capillary waves in a liquid film. Once the amplitude of the capillary waves reaches a critical height, they become too tall to support themselves and tiny droplets fall off the tip of each wave resulting in atomization.
An organic solar cell (OSC) or plastic solar cell is a type of photovoltaic that uses organic electronics, a branch of electronics that deals with conductive organic polymers or small organic molecules, for light absorption and charge transport to produce electricity from sunlight by the photovoltaic effect. Most organic photovoltaic cells are polymer solar cells.
Transparent conducting films (TCFs) are thin films of optically transparent and electrically conductive material. They are an important component in a number of electronic devices including liquid-crystal displays, OLEDs, touchscreens and photovoltaics. While indium tin oxide (ITO) is the most widely used, alternatives include wider-spectrum transparent conductive oxides (TCOs), conductive polymers, metal grids and random metallic networks, carbon nanotubes (CNT), graphene, nanowire meshes and ultra thin metal films.
Thin Film Electronics ASA is a Norwegian printed electronics company, headquartered in Oslo with its main R&D offices in Linköping, Sweden and San Jose, California, United States. Thin Film Electronics ASA ("Thinfilm") maintains an NFC Innovation Center at its San Jose, California location, and also has sales offices in San Francisco, Scandinavia, United Kingdom, Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Thinfilm produces rewriteable non-volatile memories based on ferroelectric polymers using roll-to-roll printing and labels based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
Flexible solar cell research is a research-level technology, an example of which was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in which solar cells are manufactured by depositing photovoltaic material on flexible substrates, such as ordinary paper, using chemical vapor deposition technology. The technology for manufacturing solar cells on paper was developed by a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with support from the National Science Foundation and the Eni-MIT Alliance Solar Frontiers Program.
Inkjet solar cells are solar cells manufactured by low-cost, high tech methods that use an inkjet printer to lay down the semiconductor material and the electrodes onto a solar cell substrate.
Polymer-fullerene bulk heterojunction solar cells are a type of solar cell researched in academic laboratories. Photovoltaic cells featuring a polymeric blend of organics have shown promise in a field largely dominated by inorganic solar cells. Specifically, fullerene derivatives act as electron acceptors for donor materials like P3HT, creating a polymer-fullerene based photovoltaic cell.
Inkjet technology is a method for depositing liquid droplets on a substrate. It was originally developed for the publishing industry, but has become a popular method in digital fabrication of electronic and mechanical devices. Although both terms, "inkjet technology" and "inkjet printing", are commonly used interchangeably, inkjet printing usually refers to the publishing industry, used for printing graphical content, while inkjet technology usually refers to the general purpose fabrication via inkjetting.