2, National Research Council, Washington, District of Columbia, United States
3, Universal Technology Corporation, Beavercreek, Ohio, United States
The application of digital printing technologies for fabricating functional device components could bring competitive advantages in integrated electronics and photonics manufacturing sectors in terms of capital cost, production speed and product flexibility. A properly engineered ink with an appropriate printing process is essential to achieving these goals. Among different printing processes, ink-jet printing has shown promising digital capabilities. But as the nature and library of inks have become significantly more complicated over time, new printing techniques are beginning to emerge with unique capabilities. 3D automated aerosol-jet printing provides a relatively new capability to this field, offering a noncontact, direct, additive printing process, with unprecedented compatibility with a wide variety of inks, much higher material usage efficiency, accurate control of registration, and high resolution of the printed patterns. Here, we exploit the application of this technique to fabricate components of electronic and photonic devices, and relate the functionality and performance of the printed designs to their microstructures. We also show how the properties of both hard inorganic and soft polymeric materials can be harnessed in a single system by means of aerosol-jet printing.