Researchers at Duke University created a new “spray on” digital memory device. Although far from being used commercially, the proven concept shows the potential this amazing break through in technology may have on our future.
The “spray” is made of silica-coated copper nanowires encased in a polymer matrix, which can be dissolved in methanol, creating a liquid that can be sprayed through the nozzle of a printer onto a surface. Yes, there is a 3D printer that is used like an aerosol can.
Duke researchers 3D printed a series of gold electrodes onto a glass slide. Then printed, or “sprayed”, the copper-nanowire memory material over the gold electrodes, and lastly printed a second series of cooper electrodes.
To demonstrate, the researchers connected the 3D printed device to 4-programmed LEDs, which became illuminated in various combinations depending on the program.
Where would this spray on material be used? Researchers are looking at Radio-frequency identification tags (RFID), most notably used in tracking inventory. RFID tags electronically store information and when scanned provide limited information, i.e., the product was stored here, picked up at this time, and delivered at this time. With spray on memory, a consumer can see the inventory information, along with the temperature the product was stored in and for how long, or how the product was handled, which would be great for medications, or a perfectly preserved bottle of wine.
Or for golf enthusiasts, imagine having this printed onto your personal golf balls or clubs to track speed, elevation, distance, wind resistance, or to find your ball when you slice it into the woods.
What’s more, the spray-on memory can be re-written with no limits. While conventional memory devices might last only a few years, the spray-on memory has the ability to store data for a decade without degradation.
Vincent Rodgers is a Marketing Communications Specialist for Rotor Clip Company.