3D Microstructures

3D Microstructures 2017-07-25T22:31:13+00:00

micro-needleCustomers are using 3D printing to evolve their manufacturing capabilities in support of next generation product requirements. With 3D printing, various materials such as polymers and metals can be fabricated into functional components without the need for additional manufacturing steps. 3D Printing’s direct digital manufacturing process enables functional product optimization, reducing process steps and material usage making 3D printing a cost-effective, green technology. This new breakthrough in 3D printing technology extends additive manufacturing into the creation of micron scale polymer structures and smart devices.

Optomec’s Aerosol Jet 3D micro-structure printing enables the creation of micron-scale, high-aspect ratio structures by using in-flight curing and directly printing liquid materials. Aerosol Jet technology, in combination with an in-flight UV curing process, enables photopolymers to be printed into free-form standing 3D structures.

Further information on this has been published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering

Advantages of this approach include:

  • Ultra-high resolution 3D printing, with features sizes down to 10 microns
  • Lateral feature resolution to 1 micron
  • Vertical resolution to 100 nm
  • An aspect ratio of more than 100:1 can be achieved
  • Structures can be printed on nearly any surface geometry by manipulating the tilt and rotation of the print head
  • Overhangs and closed cells can be printed directly, without using sacrificial support structures
  • Co-deposition of electronic and support materials for fabricating 3D circuits
  • Composite materials can be printed, which enables tailoring of the mechanical and electrical properties of the 3D structures.

Using the Aerosol Jet process, practically any type of material and/or solvent can be printed. The large standoff from the substrate, from 1 to 5 millimeters, enables high aspect printing without any z-axis motion. 10 micron focusing of the aerosol mist stream enables creation of ultrafine features.

Further advancements in generating layer wise micro-structures are currently being explored. Click here for links to a Technical Paper on the use of Aerosol Jet for microstructure printing.

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Aerosol based direct-write micro-additive fabrication method for sub-mm 3D metal-dielectric structures
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