Leslie Schoop: Superconducting ink provides greater flexibility in electronics

July 24, 2023

A simple method for producing electricity-conducting ink could enable the printing of circuits for wearable electronics and quantum computers.

Superconducting ink — a single-molecule-thin substance that conducts electricity without resistance — has a wide range of potential applications, from a thin bandage that measures heart rate to a phone made from a thin piece of film worn around the wrist. However, previous methods for creating this material have not lived up to expectations.

Xiaoyu Song

Xiaoyu Song
Princeton Ph.D. 2022
Photo by C. Todd Reichart

Leslie Schoop

Leslie Schoop
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Photo by David Kelly Crow

A new approach created by Princeton scientists produces stable superconducting ink using a process called chemical exfoliation, in which researchers dip a chemical compound into a corrosive acid to separate it into layers. Chemical exfoliation has been used to create these inks in the past, but the product was unstable and highly sensitive to air, and the process was not replicable at large scale.

The new variation of this method produces a product that remains stable in ambient conditions for at least 30 days without any protective agents. The scalable method produces a stable superconducting ink made of a chemical compound called tungsten disulfide.

The ink is metallic at room temperature and superconducting at seven degrees above absolute zero, a notable development compared to the temperature requirements for other known superconducting materials. This proof-of-concept development for the first time opens the door for large-scale development of nanosheet electronics.

“It’s a bit like printer ink, except you’re not printing a picture, you’re printing electronics.” —Leslie Schoop

Xiaoyu Song, Princeton Ph.D. 2022; Brianna L. Hoff and Joseph W. Stiles, Graduate Students; Yao-Wen Yeh, Princeton Ph.D. 2017 and former Senior Research Specialist; Guangming Cheng, Associate Research Scholar; Jason Khoury, Postdoctoral Research Fellow; Ratnadwip Singha, Postdoctoral Research Associate; Nan Yao, Senior Research Scholar, Princeton Materials Institute and Director of the Imaging and Analysis Center; Philip Batson, Rutgers University; Franziska Kamm and Florian Pielnhofer, University of Regensburg.

Development status:
Patent pending. Princeton is seeking outside interest in developing this technology.

U.S. Department of Defense; National Science Foundation; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

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Licensing contact:
Prabhpreet Gill
Technology Licensing Associate
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