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Researchers find a way to scale production of printable electronics

"From our proof of concept, we're paving a road toward optimization," said researcher Christina Schindler.

By Brooks Hays
Researchers find a way to scale production of printable electronics
Researchers created 3D-printed memory membranes out of polyimide foil, calling their efforts a proof of concept that is "paving a road toward optimization." Photo by Huber et al./Applied Physical Letters

April 4 (UPI) -- Scientists have developed a new way to produce printable electronics. Researchers combined 3D and ink-jet printing to create an immensely scalable production method.

The new memory device uses resistive memory. It's called ReRAM.

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"In any kind of memory, the basic memory unit must be switchable between two states that represent one bit, or '0' or '1,'" Bernhard Huber, a doctoral student at INRS-EMT, said in a news release. "For ReRAM devices, these two states are defined by the resistance of the memory cell."

The high-resistance portion of the device is made of insulating spin-on glass. The glass divides a conducting polymer electrode from a silver electrode.

"The '1' is a low-resistance state, which is given by a metallic filament that grows into the spin-on glass and provides a reversible short-circuit between the two electrodes," Huber explained.

Researchers say their discovery will be useful in the field of low-performance memory devices, a smaller niche that has been ignored by scientists. The method could be used to streamline the production of computer chips for credit cards or even for wearable electronics.

"From our proof of concept, we're paving a road toward optimization," said Christina Schindler, a researcher at Munich University. "Our biggest surprise was how little device performance depends on the fabrication process."

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Researchers described their proof of concept in the journal Applied Physical Letters.

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