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Plastic Electronics: the coming revolution

Nano-scale printing and coating of materials on a wide range of plastics has the potential to impact on multiple applications in energy, environment, consumer electronics and healthcare.

Rapid printing molecular electronic materials on to flexible plastics is creating a wide range of effective very low cost devices that will revolutionise displays, solar energy, solid-state lighting, imaging and sensing, medical diagnostics, photonics and communications.

Professor Donal Bradley and his team at Imperial College are using organic, carbon-based materials to construct the next generation of electronic devices. Their research combines the properties of plastics with the functionality of semiconductors to create innovative technologies at dramatically lower production costs. Professor Bradley’s experimental investigations have significantly advanced the understanding of the physics of conjugated polymers as semiconductors and helped to demonstrate their widespread application potential.

Plastic electronics can be printed on various substrates to create devices such as thin film transistors or resistors. Printed electronics is expected to facilitate widespread, very low-cost electronics for applications such as flexible displays, smart labels, decorative and animated posters, and active clothing.

The most important benefit of printing is low-cost volume fabrication. The lower cost enables use in more applications. An example is radio frequency identification, 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, putting solar cells on vehicle roofs.

This plastic electronics technology has the potential for use in multiple applications including displays, solar energy, solid-state lighting, imaging and sensing, medical diagnostics, photonics and communications. In terms of consumer electronics, this means a wide range of devices can be developed, updated, or revolutionised – from flat screen televisions to e-book readers, from smart windows to printed circuit boards.

Do plastic electronics have the potential to change the world? What is the appeal of using printing processes to generate large scale electronics products and devices? What kind of applications can we envisage in the future which could change the way we live now?


Professor Donal Bradley | talks


Date and Time:

15 May 2012 at 7:00 pm


2 hours



Friends of Imperial College
Imperial College London
Exhibition Road
020 3239 7699

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