A research team led by Dr. Woo Lee, who serves at Stevens Institute of Technology’s Schaefer School of Engineering and Science at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science’s George Meade Bond Professor, has exhibited its novel graphene-based method for inkjet printing of energy storage devices, paving the way for the advancement of printed electronics.
At Printed Electronics USA 2011, the research team has won the Academic R&D Award for integrating the precision inkjet printing technologies with novel applications of graphene. Dr. Lee developed a special ‘ink,’ an aqueous solution of graphene oxide that forms graphene through thermal reduction subsequent to the printing. The resultant product has functional properties such as a large surface area for better energy storage, transparency, electrical conductivity and superior mechanical strength so that it can be used regularly.
The research team’s process utilizes an inkjet printer that is capable of forming and placing droplets of graphene oxide down to the volume of 10pL, paving the way to design graphene-based electrodes. Dr. Lee stated that the novel technique enables the printing of graphene droplets down to a resolution of roughly 50 µm. This high-precision inkjet printing method eliminates material wastage, as it needs fewer amounts of nanomaterials, and is easily scalable through the integration of the team’s processes with commercial printers, Lee said.
The National Science Foundation funds Dr. Lee's research on creating drug-eluting micropatterns using inkjet printing onto the orthopedic implant surface. These biocompatible nanoparticle-based micropatterns support formation of bone around new implants and prevent bacterial contagion subsequent to orthopedic surgeries, the root cause for the failure of implants.