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High Resolution Conformal Printing with Aerosol Jet®

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Fabrication of 3D devices is often done by layer-wise printing of inks and resins in conjunction with treatments such as photonic curing and laser sintering. The nontreated material is typically dissolved leaving the final 3D part. Such techniques are generally limited to single materials and it can be difficult to build high resolution, 3D structures over existing 3D surfaces. In this paper, we demonstrate a novel, non-contact technique called Aerosol Jet® printing. This technique creates a collimated jet of aerosol droplets that extend 3-5 mm from the nozzle to the target. The deposited features can be as small as 10 um and a wide assortment of materials can be printed such as metal nano-particles, polymers, adhesives, ceramics, and bio-active materials. The nozzle direction and XYZ positioning is controlled by CAD/CAM software which allows conformal printing onto 2.5D substrates which have a high level of surface topography as well as fully 3D surfaces. For example, metallic traces can be printed onto 3D shapes such as trenches and vias, as well as onto sidewalls and convex and concave surfaces. We discuss the fabrication of a conformal phase array antenna, embedded circuitry and sensors, and electronic packaging.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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