Research Highlight

Microbubbles for electronic circuits

doi:10.1038/nindia.2017.90 Published online 24 July 2017

Researchers have created microbubbles which can create specific patterns of conducting polymers for making electronic devices1.

Cheap and flexible conducting polymers are essential for the growth of solution-printed electronics. The polymers are difficult to produce and most show poor conductivity.    

In search of a simple technique, scientists led by Ayan Banerjee and Soumyajit Roy from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata, exposed a solution of soft oxometalate and organic molecules in a chamber to a tightly focused laser beam. Absorbing the beam, oxometalate stuck to the chamber surface to form a microbubble around which the oxometalate and organic molecules self-assembled to form polymers.

When the laser was removed, the oxometalate crystallized and deposited along the path of the laser similar to the wake of an aeroplane, forming permanent patterns. The self-assembling polymers co-patterned along with the oxometalate, ending up in patterns of conducting polymers and reduced oxometalate.

This method can be used for complex electronic circuits which are useful for fabricating electronic devices such as micro-capacitors. In their initial attempts, the researchers fabricated micro-capacitors with the basic capacitance values of a few picofarads.  

“This technique is a good candidate to qualify as a new micro-lithographic tool for fabricating solution-processed electronic circuits and devices,” says Banerjee. 



1. Ghosh, S. et al. In situ self-assembly and photopolymerization for hetero-phase synthesis and patterning of conducting materials using soft oxometalates in thermo-optical tweezers. J. Mater. Chem. C. 5, 6718-6728 (2017)