Three-dimensional curvy electronics created using conformal additive stamp printing

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Electronic devices are typically manufactured in planar layouts, but many emerging applications, from optoelectronics to wearables, require three-dimensional curvy structures. However, the fabrication of such structures has proved challenging due, in particular, to the lack of an effective manufacturing technology. Here, we show that conformal additive stamp (CAS) printing technology can be used to reliably manufacture three-dimensional curvy electronics. CAS printing employs a pneumatically inflated elastomeric balloon as a conformal stamping medium to pick up pre-fabricated electronic devices and print them onto curvy surfaces. To illustrate the capabilities of the approach, we use it to create various devices with curvy shapes: silicon pellets, photodetector arrays, electrically small antennas, hemispherical solar cells and smart contact lenses. We also show that CAS printing can be used to print onto arbitrary three-dimensional surfaces.

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Fig. 1: CAS printing.
Fig. 2: Devices on a hemispherical shell by CAS printing.
Fig. 3: Hemispherical solar cell.
Fig. 4: Multiple functional smart contact lens electronics.
Fig. 5: CAS printing onto various 3D curvilinear substrates.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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C.Y. thanks the funding support by National Science Foundation (ECCS-1509763 and CMMI-1554499), startup fund and the Bill D. Cook faculty scholarship from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Houston.

Author information

K.S., S.C. and C.Y. conceived and designed the experiment. K.S., S.C., Z.R., J.L., Y.L. and S.J. performed the experiment. Z.L. and J.X. performed numerical analysis. K.S., J.C. and C.Y. analysed experimental data. K.S., Z.L., J.X., F.E. and C.Y. wrote the paper.

Correspondence to Cunjiang Yu.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Notes 1–4, Table 1 and Figs. 1–44.

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