Ghassan E. Jabbour is a University of Arizona professor developing an inkjet printing process that produces photovoltaic devices such as solar cells. He uses digitized images on a computer and sends them to a printer that sprays an organic solution onto an electrically conductive surface. He describes the printed product as a self-illuminated photograph. "The new process uses inkjet to vary the conductivity of the conductors," says Jabbour. "Basically, we design an electronic circuit, scan it to a computer, then send it to the printer." He programmed the printer to interpret colors and convert them to particular chemicals that produce predetermined reactions. "We do some chemistry that allows us to control where we want a lot of electrons and where we don't want electrons." His self-illuminated photographs print in visible colors, but he can also print in colors in the infrared wavelength range that are invisible to the naked eye. For more information, go to www.ua.edu.
The transformative nature of designing and making things was the overarching, common theme at separate conferences held in Boston by two giants in the PLM space: Autodesk, with its Accelerate 2015, and Siemens’s Industry Analyst Conference 2015.
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