printed electronics medical deviceFrom Kurzweilai.net, we learn of a new technique developed at Purdue University to print liquid metal through an inkjet printer. This could have significant impact in the design of medical devices.

By using ultrasound to break up liquid metal into nanoparticles in an ethanol solvent, the material can pass through an inkjet nozzle. Once printed onto a surface, the ethanol evaporates, leaving only the nanoparticles. Application of pressure rejoins the nanoparticles into a continuous film and renders the film conductive. Pressure can be applied in a selective manner to customize the circuitry.

I have written on several recent occasions how flexible electronics are enabling medical devices to be designed in the form of stickers, stamps and other basically 2-dimensional forms. Printed liquid metal technology is another development that points in this direction.