3D printing research aims for sub-miniature antennas

| Manufacturing

3D printed sensors, antennas and other electronic components is the aim of nanomaterial printing research taking place at Carnegie Mellon.

Production-grade additive manufacturing system supplier, Optomec has deployed its Aerosol Jet Technology at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering to advance 3D micro-additive manufacturing methods for fully printed conformal sensors, low loss passive components and antennas for on-chip and off-chip electronics. These advancements have significant potential to drive next-generation manufacturing processes.

Carnegie Mellon’s Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Laboratory (AMML), led by Dr. Rahul Panat, is working on solving fundamental and applied problems in the areas of printed and flexible microelectronics manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries. These areas are highly relevant to realise devices and systems for wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Examples include smart contact lenses, wearable electronic clothing, robotic skins, and bio-patches.

“We employ an Optomec Aerosol Jet 3D print system to directly print nanoparticle inks and polymers over complex surfaces,” said Dr. Panat. “The Aerosol Jet system has enabled us to fully print 3D antennas at the sub 100um length scale and to conduct simulation studies to identify omnidirectional antenna designs. These fabrication methods are unique and can pave the way for several applications in the high-speed communication areas.” The team has also demonstrated recently that complex 3D battery architectures fabricated by Aerosol Jet show electrode utilisation and fast-charge discharge cycles. Dr. Panat and his team are focused on developing next generation fully printed and in-situ cured methods that have practical use within mainstream manufacturing.

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