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Fine print: New technique allows fast printing of microscopic electronics

which can only be done in very small areas. The new technique can lay down lines at the rate of meters per second as opposed to millionths of a meter per second.

Another application would be to use a liquid that solidifies into a fiber for making precise three-dimensional lattices. Such a product could be used as a scaffold to promote blood clotting in wounds and in other medical devices.

Princeton University has filed for a patent on the discovery and has licensed rights to Vorbeck Materials Corp., a specialty chemical company based in Maryland.

Electronics is a huge potential application for this discovery, said John Lettow, president of Vorbeck and a 1995 chemical engineering alumnus of Princeton. The printing technique could greatly increase the size of video displays and the speed with which high performance displays are made. Lettow said the technique also could be used in creating large sensors that collect information over a wide area, such as a sensor printed onto an airplane wing to detect metal fatigue.

For Korkut, publishing the results in the premier physics journal marks a gratifying conclusion to years of painstaking work that offered no guarantee of a practical answer. You are digging into a hole and you dont know if you will hit the bottom, Korkut said. You could just keep on digging.

Even though she began to see improved stability of the jet after five years, she still did not have a precise handle on the causes. Aksay and Saville pressed her to have a deeper understanding before publishing the results.

It took more than a year after we saw the clues. We had to look at many possibilities, Korkut said.

Aksay said Korkut succeeded because of her persistence. If you give up too soon, you cant come up with a breakthrough.


Contact: Steven Schultz
Princeton University, Engineering School

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