3D printing and laser annealing of conductive metallic inks without supports could lead to customized electronic and biomedical devices
“Flat” and “rigid” are terms typically used to describe electronic devices. But the increasing demand for flexible, wearable electronics, sensors, antennas and biomedical devices has led a team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) to innovate an eye-popping new way of printing complex metallic architectures – as though they are seemingly suspended in midair.
Reported online May 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this laser-assisted direct ink writing method allows microscopic metallic, free-standing 3D structures to be printed in one step without auxiliary support material. The research was led by Wyss Core Faculty member Jennifer Lewis, Sc.D., who is also the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at SEAS.
“I am truly excited by this latest advance from our lab, which allows one to 3D print and anneal flexible metal electrodes and complex architectures ‘on-the-fly,’ ” said Lewis.