Print your own capacitors

November 13, 2017 | 11:20
Researchers at the University of Nottingham have developed a fast method to print 3D structures that combine conductive and dielectric polymers. The new technology thus allows the creation of fully functional electronic components. Based on inkjet technology the custom electronic circuits can be printed in a single process.

single process 3D printing

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 components

Because 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
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