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NSF Awards $9.15 Million to Develop Bio-Based Electronic Devices

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printing system

Researchers will use a new advanced manufacturing grant to develop technologies that use plant-based inks to print low-cost, biodegradable, and recyclable electronics for sensors and batteries.

The U.S. National Science Foundation recently awarded a five-year, $9.15 million grant to support the project and its team of researchers from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Iowa State University.

Jonathan Claussen, an Iowa State associate professor of mechanical engineering, will collaborate on the project. He'll help develop techniques and technologies that use bio-based graphene inks to print electronics for sensors.

The grant is part of a $40 million NSF investment in 24 projects advancing biomanufacturing, cybermanufacturing, and ecomanufacturing. 

"Our investment provides industry with manufacturing tools that currently live only in the laboratory, or the imagination," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan in a release. "Through the convergence of such fields as robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and materials research, future manufacturing will create revolutionary products with unprecedented capabilities, produced sustainably in facilities across the country by a diverse, newly trained workforce."

Claussen said the grant will support his lab's development and testing of a variety of printed electrochemical sensors.

"What's really neat about this is that all of these inks for printed electronics will be bio-based," Claussen said. "We're looking at bio-based substrates to print them on, too. This could circumvent the need for expensive silicon electronics."

From Iowa State University
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