This is big: Multifunctional circuits printed in a single process

The ability to 3D print more than one material at the same time and thereby create complete items with no assembly is a transformational capability.  Congratulations to the University of Nottingham team!

A team of researchers based at the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing have demonstrated a method for efficiently 3D-printing fully functional circuits containing different materials.

Engineer works with 3D printer in a darkened room

Printing electronic components allows for the rapid manufacture of flexible, low-cost devices. These printed devices typically use just one material, meaning that the printed components can only perform limited functions.

Multifunctional additive manufacturing, however, involves printing multiple materials from a single 3D printer to create more complex components with a range of functions. Printing electronic devices containing different materials (metallic inks to form conductors and polymeric inks to form insulators) requires a range of heat sources such as ovens or hot plates to solidify each material. This renders the process highly inefficient, particularly when hundreds of layers are required to form a component.

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