Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Surface Charge-Assisted Printing of Atomically Layered Materials and Functional Devices

Technology #5716

A Researcher from the University of Michigan Mechanical Engineering Department has developed a technology that enables mass production of devices with atomically layered materials. The technology uses surface charge to assist in the printing of complex atomically layered patterns. These atomically layered materials include graphene and MoS2, which are emerging as key materials in a range of applications from thin film solar cells to light emitting diode arrays. One of the essential advantages of the technology is the ability to produce these devices in a mass production setting, while maintaining a high degree of crystallinity, ordering of atomically layered materials over a large area, and scalability across feature size. Feature sizes in the sub 10 nm range can be produced. The technology can also modulate the conduction type (N or P) for the features in the devices, thus enabling a multitude of electronic and opto-electronic applications.

Atomically Layered Materials

There is an increasing demand for thin film and nano-scale products, from solar cells to chemical sensors to displays. Atomically layered materials in crystalline structures such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) have attracted a great deal of interest because of their attractive electronic, opto-electronic, and mechanical properties. The challenge is that current productions methods have trouble scaling: scaling in crystal size, scaling in feature size that can be produced, and scaling in the surface are of a device that can be created. All of these limitations are preventing these materials from being used in applications at a commercial scale. With a thin film solar cell manufacturing equipment market in the USA reaching $1.5B in 2015 (30.1% CAGR), and a graphene market of $675M by 2020, there is a very large market for a technology that allows for the scalable production of atomically layered materials.


  • Thin film photovoltaic solar cells
  • Light emitting diode arrays
  • Chemical sensors
  • Thin film transistors


  • High degree of material crystallinity
  • Scalable feature size
  • Devices created over a large area
  • Ability to modulate conduction type (P or N)