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Scientists Develop Cheaper, Faster, More Sustainable Method to Pattern Metals for Electronics

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Scientists from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick have developed a way to make patterned films of silver and copper (the two most conductive metals) using cheap organofluorine compounds and without using toxic chemicals.


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Scientists Dr Ross Hatton, Dr Silva Varagnolo and Dr Jaemin Lee. Image Credit University of Warwick

Silver and copper are the most widely used electrical conductors in modern electronics and solar cells. However, conventional methods of patterning these metals to make the desired pattern of conducting lines are based on selectively removing metal from a film by etching using harmful chemicals or printing from costly metal inks.

The old method of patterning metals for electronics and solar cells can be slow, expensive, and involve toxic chemicals.

This new method is more sustainable and potentially much cheaper because it uses an extremely thin printed layer of organofluorine to prevent metal deposition, so metal is only deposited where it is needed.

The new method can be used to make electrodes for flexible solar panels, next generation sensors and low-emissivity glass.

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