The new process uses a conductive ink containing silver nanoparticles capable of converting UV light into heat. This allows the ink to dry quickly and to fuse together the silver nanoparticles without harming the surrounding materials.
Traditionally, different methods are required to solidify different materials, but the researchers developed an isolating ink that also solidifies under UV light. This way only one process is needed to construct mixed-material 3D structures.
Print electronic componentsBecause the technique allows building structures out of conductive and dielectric materials it becomes possible to print for instance capacitors. Not only can it print a capacitor, it can create it with the exact value required by the circuit.
The technique will need some further development and refinement before it will become widely available, so don’t throw away your stock of 100 nF capacitors right now.
Illustration: University of Nottingham