Researchers from the University of Hamburg and Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Germany have found a way to 3D print electronic circuits that are flexible as well as transparent. This technology could lead to a number of convenient devices that can withstand being bent or even folded. Electronic chips 3D printed using this technology consists of a dense mesh of tiny silver wires that are only nanometers thick. The wires are printed and embedded into numerous kinds of flexible plastics and polymers. The team of researchers that made this exciting breakthrough explained that such a technique would enable the manufacture of various types of tools and devices that contain integrated circuits.
When the mesh of silver wires is embedded into the polymer, the compressed state of the wires improves their conductivity. The overall process also seemed to improve the transparency of some of the materials into which the silver wires were embedded. What’s interesting is that electronics printed out could be embedded into several types of equipment, which in turn would lead to better utilization of space and so, smaller and lighter equipment which can be flexible.
The applications that this method of 3D printing electronics could usher in can potentially transform instrumentation and equipment manufacturing, to result in a new market entirely.
Many experts believe that 3D printing is the future of manufacturing, as it can reduce costs, time and resources required to make a wide range of goods.