skip to main content

Title: 3D printed electronic materials and devices.
Abstract 3D printing of functional materials and devices is an emerging technology which may facilitate a higher degree of freedom in the fabrication of electronic devices in terms of material selection, 3D device form factor, morphology of target surfaces, and autonomy. This chapter discusses 3D printed electronics from the perspective of ink properties and device fabrication, including light-emitting diodes, tactile sensors and wireless powering. In combination with the progress in 3D structured light scanning, advances in computer vision, and commercial trends toward miniaturization, the prospect of autonomous, compact and portable 3D printers for electronic materials is discussed. Because the performance of 3D printed electronics is sensitively influenced by the homogeneity of printed layers, an understanding of fluid mechanics may enhance the quality of the printing and thus the performance of the resulting devices. Lastly, in order to create conformal contact between 3D printed electronics and the human body, an understanding of interfacial mechanics for 3D printed devices is suggested.
; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Woodhead Publishing reviews
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract: 3D printing offers significant potential in creating highly customized interactive and functional objects. However, at present ability to manufacture functional objects is limited by available materials (e.g., various polymers) and their process properties. For instance, many functional objects need stronger materials which may be satisfied with metal printers. However, to create wholly interactive devices, we need both conductors and insulators to create wiring, and electronic components to complete circuits. Unfortunately, the single material nature of metal printing, and its inherent high temperatures, preclude this. Thus, in 3D printed devices, we have had a choice of strong materials, or embedded interactivity, but not both. In this paper, we introduce a set of techniques we call FiberWire, which leverages a new commercially available capability to 3D print carbon fiber composite objects. These objects are light weight and mechanically strong, and our techniques demonstrate a means to embed circuitry for interactive devices within them. With FiberWire, we describe a fabrication pipeline takes advantage of laser etching and fiber printing between layers of carbon-fiber composite to form low resistance conductors, thereby enabling the fabrication of electronics directly embedded into mechanically strong objects. Utilizing the fabrication pipeline, we show a range of sensor designs,more »their performance characterization on these new materials and finally three fully printed example object that are both interactive and mechanically strong -- a bicycle handle bar with interactive controls, a swing and impact sensing golf club and an interactive game controller (Figure 1).« less
  2. Personalized healthcare (PHC) is a booming sector in the health science domain wherein researchers from diverse technical backgrounds are focusing on the need for remote human health monitoring. PHC employs wearable electronics, viz. group of sensors integrated on a flexible substrate, embedded in the clothes, or attached to the body via adhesive. PHC wearable flexible electronics (FE) offer numerous advantages including being versatile, comfortable, lightweight, flexible, and body conformable. However, finding the appropriate mass manufacturing technologies for these PHC devices is still a challenge. It needs an understanding of the physics, performance, and applications of printing technologies for PHC wearables, ink preparation, and bio-compatible device fabrication. Moreover, the detailed study of the operating principle, ink, and substrate materials of the printing technologies such as inkjet printing will help identify the opportunities and emerging challenges of applying them in manufacturing of PHC wearable devices. In this article, we attempt to bridge this gap by reviewing the printing technologies in the PHC domain, especially inkjet printing in depth. This article presents a brief review of the state-of-the-art wearable devices made by various printing methods and their applications in PHC. It focuses on the evaluation and application of these printing technologies for PHCmore »wearable FE devices, along with advancements in ink preparation and bio-compatible device fabrication. The performance of inkjet, screen, gravure, and flexography printing, as well as the inks and substrates, are comparatively analyzed to aid PHC wearable sensor design, research, fabrication, and mass manufacturing. Moreover, it identifies the application of the emerging mass-customizable printing technologies, such as inkjet printing, in the manufacturing of PHC wearable devices, and reviews the printing principles, drop generation mechanisms, ink formulations, ink-substrate interactions, and matching strategies for printing wearable devices on stretchable substrates. Four surface matching strategies are extracted from literature for the guidance of inkjet printing of PHC stretchable electronics. The electro-mechanical performance of the PHC FE devices printed using four surface matching strategies is comparatively evaluated. Further, the article extends its review by describing the scalable integration of PHC devices and finally presents the future directions of research in printing technologies for PHC wearable devices.« less
  3. Abstract Aerosol jet printing (AJP) is a direct-write additive manufacturing technique, which has emerged as a high-resolution method for the fabrication of a broad spectrum of electronic devices. Despite the advantages and critical applications of AJP in the printed-electronics industry, AJP process is intrinsically unstable, complex, and prone to unexpected gradual drifts, which adversely affect the morphology and consequently the functional performance of a printed electronic device. Therefore, in situ process monitoring and control in AJP is an inevitable need. In this respect, in addition to experimental characterization of the AJP process, physical models would be required to explain the underlying aerodynamic phenomena in AJP. The goal of this research work is to establish a physics-based computational platform for prediction of aerosol flow regimes and ultimately, physics-driven control of the AJP process. In pursuit of this goal, the objective is to forward a three-dimensional (3D) compressible, turbulent, multiphase computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model to investigate the aerodynamics behind: (i) aerosol generation, (ii) aerosol transport, and (iii) aerosol deposition on a moving free surface in the AJP process. The complex geometries of the deposition head as well as the pneumatic atomizer were modeled in the ansys-fluent environment, based on patented designsmore »in addition to accurate measurements, obtained from 3D X-ray micro-computed tomography (μ-CT) imaging. The entire volume of the constructed geometries was subsequently meshed using a mixture of smooth and soft quadrilateral elements, with consideration of layers of inflation to obtain an accurate solution near the walls. A combined approach, based on the density-based and pressure-based Navier–Stokes formation, was adopted to obtain steady-state solutions and to bring the conservation imbalances below a specified linearization tolerance (i.e., 10−6). Turbulence was modeled using the realizable k-ε viscous model with scalable wall functions. A coupled two-phase flow model was, in addition, set up to track a large number of injected particles. The boundary conditions of the CFD model were defined based on experimental sensor data, recorded from the AJP control system. The accuracy of the model was validated using a factorial experiment, composed of AJ-deposition of a silver nanoparticle ink on a polyimide substrate. The outcomes of this study pave the way for the implementation of physics-driven in situ monitoring and control of AJP.« less
  4. Thermoelectric devices have great potential as a sustainable energy conversion technology to harvest waste heat and perform spot cooling with high reliability. However, most of the thermoelectric devices use toxic and expensive materials, which limits their application. These materials also require high-temperature fabrication processes, limiting their compatibility with flexible, bio-compatible substrate. Printing electronics is an exciting new technique for fabrication that has enabled a wide array of biocompatible and conformable systems. Being able to print thermoelectric devices allows them to be custom made with much lower cost for their specific application. Significant effort has been directed toward utilizing polymers and other bio-friendly materials for low-cost, lightweight, and flexible thermoelectric devices. Fortunately, many of these materials can be printed using low-temperature printing processes, enabling their fabrication on biocompatible substrates. This review aims to report the recent progress in developing high performance thermoelectric inks for various printing techniques. In addition to the usual thermoelectric performance measures, we also consider the attributes of flexibility and the processing temperatures. Finally, recent advancement of printed device structures is discussed which aims to maximize the temperature difference across the junctions.
  5. Recent advances in 3D printing have enabled the creation of novel 3D constructs and devices with an unprecedented level of complexity, properties, and functionalities. In contrast to manufacturing techniques developed for mass production, 3D printing encompasses a broad class of fabrication technologies that can enable 1) the creation of highly customized and optimized 3D physical architectures from digital designs; 2) the synergistic integration of properties and functionalities of distinct classes of materials to create novel hybrid devices; and 3) a biocompatible fabrication approach that facilitates the creation and co-integration of biological constructs and systems. Developing the ability to 3D print various classes of materials possessing distinct properties could enable the freeform generation of active electronics in unique functional, interwoven architectures. Here we are developing a multiscale 3D printing approach that enables the integration of diverse classes of materials to create a variety of 3D printed electronics and functional devices with active properties that are not easily achieved using standard microfabrication techniques. In one of the examples, we demonstrate an approach to prolong the gastric residence of wireless electronics to weeks via multimaterial three-dimensional design and fabrication. The surgical-free approach to integrate biomedical electronics with the human body can revolutionize telemedicinemore »by enabling a real-time diagnosis and delivery of therapeutic agents.« less