Optomec Awarded Patent for Electronics Printing Technique
Kyle Maxey posted on March 11, 2014 |

3D printer manufacturer Optomec has been awarded a patent for a new electronics printing technique.

Called Aerosol Jet printing, the manufacturing method is an improvement over current ink-jet electronic printing techniques, which can only produce components on a macro scale. In the new print method, sheath gases are used to insulate and focus a beam of micron-sized droplets of conductive material. As these droplets are jettisoned from the print head the gases that accompany them act as a guide – giving the print head the ability to accurately place micron-thin patterns of material which create the desired electronic circuit.

According to Mike Renn, Optomec CTO, "The miniaturized Aerosol Jet print head can be used for many applications. As a linear array using a single material, it is a means for increasing throughput with simple parallel processing for high volume applications, such as printed touch screen displays.”

“Looking into the future, Aerosol Jet could print different materials from each miniaturized print head in the array,” Mr. Renn continued. “In this case, Aerosol Jet Printers could produce complex multi-material, multi-layered devices such as transistors, capacitors, sensors and resistors, on a single system."

With Optomec’s technology in hand, 3D printing should be able to traverse another hurdle on its way to widespread adoption. If manufacturers can load and print a complete electronics product in a single run system the days where 3D printing is considered a prototyping technique may be numbered – providing a new end-use paradigm.

Images and Video Courtesy of Optomec

Recommended For You