Three-dimensional (3D) printing can create complex geometries that could be of use in the development of electronics. However, the approach is mainly limited to non-functional structural materials, and the 3D printing of electronic devices typically requires multiple process stages of embedding, spraying and writing. Here, we report a 3D printing approach that can volumetrically deposit multiple functional materials within arbitrary 3D layouts to create electronic devices in a single step. Our approach prints 3D structures with a programmable mosaic of distinct surface charge regions, creating a platform to deposit functional materials into complex architectures based on localized electrostatic attraction. The technique allows selective volumetric depositions of single metals and also diverse active material combinations, including ceramic, semiconducting, magnetic and colloidal materials, into site-specific 3D topologies. To illustrate the capabilities of our approach, we use it to fabricate devices with 3D electronic interfaces that can be used for tactile sensing, internal wave mapping and shape self-sensing.
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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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We acknowledge NSF_CMMI 1727492, DARPA Young Faculty Award (D20AP00001, Program Manager, R. Rolcawich), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) (FA9550-18-1-0299), and Office of Naval Research (N00014-19-1-2723:P00001) for financial support of this work. We would like to acknowledge the help of H.C. Liu for the antenna array collaboration.
A worldwide patent application related to this work has been filed (no. PCT/US2019/033385). The authors declare no other competing interests.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Supplementary Note 1, Figs. 1–11 and Tables 1 and 2.
A circuit design is selectively plated on an arbitrary substrate topology.
Ni-P is programmably deposited in various areas of four pieces of the same unit-cell design, but differing electrostatic design.
Two complex dielectric ball-in-cage structures, which are the inverse of each other, are programmably plated.
Two piezoelectric lattices, one stiff, one flexible, both with embedded electrodes are deformed by a drop weight. The elastic wave at each layer is monitored by voltage changes to the electrodes allowing impact sensing and material property determination.
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Hensleigh, R., Cui, H., Xu, Z. et al. Charge-programmed three-dimensional printing for multi-material electronic devices. Nat Electron 3, 216–224 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-020-0391-2
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