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University Extends Research into 3-D Micro-Additive Manufacturing

Optomec, a supplier of production-grade additive manufacturing systems for 3-D printed electronics and 3-D printed metals, announced its Aerosol Jet Technology has been deployed by Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering to advance 3-D micro-additive manufacturing methods for fully printed conformal sensors, low loss passives and antennas for on-chip and off-chip electronics. These advancements have significant potential to drive next-generation manufacturing processes.

Carnegie Mellon's Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Laboratory (AMML), led by Dr. Rahul Panat, is working on solving fundamental and applied problems in the areas of printed and flexible microelectronics manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries. These areas are highly relevant to realize devices and systems for wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Examples include smart contact lenses, wearable electronic clothing, robotic skins, bio-patches and more.

"We employ an Optomec Aerosol Jet 3-D print system to directly print nanoparticle inks and polymers over complex surfaces," Panat said. "The Aerosol Jet system has enabled us to fully print 3-D antennas at the sub 100 um length scale and to conduct simulation studies to identify omnidirectional antenna designs. These fabrication methods are unique and can pave way for several applications in the high-speed communication areas."

The team has also demonstrated recently that complex 3-D battery architectures fabricated by Aerosol Jet show electrode utilization and fast-charge discharge cycles. Panat and his team are focused on developing next generation fully printed and in-situ cured solutions that have practical use within mainstream manufacturing.

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