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Carnegie Mellon Deploys Aerosol Jet Printers

Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering has deployed Optomec’s Aerosol Jet Technology for research into 3D micro-additive manufacturing methods for printed conformal sensors, low-loss passives, and antennas for both on-chip and off-chip electronics.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Laboratory (AMML) at the university is attempting to advance printed and flexible microelectronics manufacturing and lithium-ion battery production.

The new Aerosol Jet printer at Carnegie Mellon, which arrived in November. Image: Carnegie Mellon AMML

“We employ an Optomec Aerosol Jet 3D print system to directly print nanoparticle inks and polymers over complex surfaces,” said Dr. Rahul Panat who leads the AMML. “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 Aerosol Jet systems provide high-resolution printing of electronic circuits and components. Last year, Optomec’s Aerosol Jet systems were installed at the NextFlex Technology Hub in San Jose and New York as part of a contract to advance the development of flexible hybrid electronics.

“Dr. Panat and his team are focused on developing next generation fully printed and in-situ cured solutions that have practical use within mainstream manufacturing,” according to Optomec,

The AMML group is investigating using Aerosol Jet printing to arrange nanoparticles in 3D space at a length scale of “tens of micrometers,” according to their website.

They are also working on new types of sensors, as well as microscale-control of Li-ion battery porosity that could increase capacity and charge-discharge rates. For the battery, the lab has been able to use an extrusion-based 3D printing method and conventional battery paste to create a structure that offered better capacity performance than traditional methods.

Other research areas include bioelectronics, and flexible/stretchable electronics that can be used in wearable devices.

Source: Optomec

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