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Published: 24 February 2016

Revolutionising the electronics industry

PhD Research Engineer Grigorios (Greg) Rigas has presented his research on high-resolution ink-jet printed electronics to MPs at the House of Commons, as part of the SET for Britain 2016 competition.

Greg Rigas with Jo Johnson MP
Greg Rigas (right) with Jo Johnson MP, Minister for Universities and Science.

Does going to your local retail shop to buy your new smartphone sound tedious? Wouldn’t it be easier to find your favourite gadget over the internet and then print it using an ink-jet printer in your home? Science fiction? Maybe not.

Greg said: “I am developing nanomaterials’ printing techniques for next generation electronic devices as part of my four-year PhD under the supervision of Dr Maxim Shkunov. One of the main challenges in printed electronics was the lack of precision in placing tiny semiconducting and metallic ink droplets to build a device, a crucial drawback for high-end applications. At the House of Commons, I will present how we managed to overcome this challenge, and made (probably) the world’s smallest ink-jet printed nanowire transistor (an electronic switch), that can easily fit on a cross section of a human hair. Such devices can be engineered to work as hazardous gas sensors, nano-photovoltaic energy harvesters or even as miniature cancer detectors.”

Greg is a collaborative PhD student in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at Surrey, funded by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington, conducting research both at the University and NPL.

Greg adds: “The nanoscale devices we make at Surrey are analysed using advanced characterisation techniques under development at NPL, which can measure how nanoscale properties impact device performance. This knowledge is crucial as it enables the rational design of printed nanoelectronic devices and ultimately will help companies bring these products to market faster, with higher quality and at a lower cost. Through the work conducted there, under the supervision of Dr. Fernando Castro, we are ensuring Britain’s role as a leader in the emerging field of printed electronics.”

Printed nanoelectronics offer outstanding potentials for revolutionizing the landscape of the electronics industry. Future applications envisioned for printed electronics include medical implants, flexible displays, wearable electronics for remote medical monitoring and pollution sensors.

SET for Britain 2016 competition aims to encourage, support and promote Britain’s best early-stage and early-career research scientists. Entrants receive a brief introduction to Parliament and discover how the House of Commons deals with science, engineering, medicine and technology.

The final of the 2016 SET for Britain event took place at Westminster on March 7, and was sponsored by Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the SET for Britain organizing group of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee. 

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