Groundbreaking 3D Printing Technologies a “Game Changer” for Exploring and Manufacturing New Materials

High-Throughput Combinatorial Printing

Higher-throughput combinatorial printing illustration. The new 3D printing strategy, substantial-throughput combinatorial printing (HTCP), greatly accelerates the discovery and creation of new resources. Credit: College of Notre Dame

A novel 3D printing method identified as significant-throughput combinatorial printing (HTCP) has been produced that noticeably accelerates the discovery and manufacturing of new products.

The procedure entails mixing a number of aerosolized nanomaterial inks during printing, which enables for good control around the printed materials’ architecture and local compositions. This strategy generates products with gradient compositions and properties and can be utilized to a large array of substances like metals,

The time-honored Edisonian trial-and-error process of discovery is slow and labor-intensive. This hampers the development of urgently needed new technologies for clean energy and environmental sustainability, as well as for electronics and biomedical devices.

“It usually takes 10 to 20 years to discover a new material,” said Yanliang Zhang, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame.

“I thought if we could shorten that time to less than a year — or even a few months — it would be a game changer for the discovery and manufacturing of new materials.”

Now Zhang has done just that, creating a novel 3D printing method that produces materials in ways that conventional manufacturing can’t match. The new process mixes multiple aerosolized nanomaterial inks in a single printing nozzle, varying the ink mixing ratio on the fly during the printing process. This method — called high-throughput combinatorial printing (HTCP) — controls both the printed materials’ 3D architectures and local compositions and produces materials with gradient compositions and properties at microscale spatial resolution.

His research was published on May 10, 2023, in the journal Nature.

The aerosol-based HTCP is extremely versatile and applicable to a broad range of metals, semiconductors, and dielectrics, as well as polymers and biomaterials. It generates combinational materials that function as “libraries,” each containing thousands of unique compositions.

Combining combinational materials printing and high-throughput characterization can significantly accelerate materials discovery, Zhang said. His team has already used this approach to identify a semiconductor material with superior thermoelectric properties, a promising discovery for energy harvesting and cooling applications.

In addition to speeding up discovery, HTCP produces functionally graded materials that gradually transition from stiff to soft. This makes them particularly useful in biomedical applications that need to bridge between soft body tissues and …

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Is Apple 3D Printing Electronics?

Moore’s Law has begun to plateau, waiting for a new technology that can not only shrink the size of microchips, but reshape them entirely. As mobile system giants compete to pack a lot more options into slimmer items, they may perhaps be turning to electronics 3D printing to do so.

Having said that, provided the secrecy close to product enhancement, the end users of electronics 3D printers are usually retained private. To deduce who is adopting this cutting-edge technology, it gets to be required to make some inferences. That might guide to the problem: is Apple seeking into electronics 3D printing? The response looks to be “yes.” To recognize why, we have to glimpse at a tiny enterprise called Optomec.

3D Printing Antennas

In 2003, Optomec was capable to commercialize its initially Aerosol Jet machine, able of spraying conductive inks on to 3D surfaces. The benefits of the technology were being crystal clear to hardware developers: by printing electronics specifically onto a machine, it would be possible to not only make items thinner, as no printed circuit board (PCB) would be required, but electronics could also conform to the condition of the product. For occasion, an antenna or sensor could probably curve all over a smartphone’s edge.

The financial gains to be had by Optomec ended up also crystal clear. David Ramahi, the firm’s CEO and President, set it this way: “As one measure of scale, we glimpse to the existing large equipment markets for semiconductor packaging and PCB assembly, wherever recent spends are in excess of $5 billion per 12 months, with more than 10,000 machines shipped annually—and an put in foundation in the hundreds of hundreds.”

To obtain those people gains, Aerosol Jet would have to go from a prototyping technology to just one of mass production. This was realized in 2016 by one particular buyer, Lite-On Cellular, a Taiwanese firm responsible for producing antennas and other digital factors for these kinds of major cell machine makers as Huawei, Oppo and Sony.

The organization had configured the Aerosol Jet printer to spray electric traces onto numerous objects at the moment. In accordance to Henrik Johansson, then-senior supervisor of Technology Advancement for Antennas at Lite-On, the agency was equipped to print “sensors, antennas, and other useful electronics onto plastic factors and covers… and even onto glass panels and ceramic products.” The corporation further more claimed that it was making millions of products using the technology.

The Spread of Electronics 3D

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