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Nano3Dprint A2200 named “platform for all 3D-printed electronics of the future” by US researchers

According to a team of U.S. government researchers, Nano3Dprint’s A2200 is “a platform for all 3D-printed electronics of the future.” This 2020 research states that “the demonstrated 3D-printed UV sensor can be a foundation for wearable and flexible electronics.” With the wearable electronics market estimated at about $20 billion and the flexible electronics market estimated at about $30 billion, nano3Dprint enables rapid cross-industry growth.

These statements come from a study by U.S. government researchers that showcases a fully three-dimensionally printed flexible ZnO UV photodetector. In this case, the 3D printing process has been used not only for the electrode and light-sensitive material, but also to create a substrate.

Process of the study

An ultraflat and flexible substrate capable of serving as the backbone layer is developed using a water-dissolvable polymer layer for surface planarization. A two-layered printing followed by surface treatment is demonstrated for the substrate preparation. As mechanical support but flexible, a thick and sparse thermoplastic polyurethane layer is printed. On its surface, a thin and dense poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) is then printed. A precise control of PVA reflow using a microwater droplet results in a flexible and extremely uniform substrate.

A Cu–Ag nanowire network is directly 3D printed on the flexible substrate for the conducting layer, followed by ZnO for the photosensitive material. Unlike the planar two-dimensional printing that provides thin films, 3D printing allows the electrode to have a step height, which can be made like a dam to accommodate a thick film of ZnO. Photosensitivity as a function of various ZnO thickness values was investigated to establish an optimal thickness for UV response. The device was also tested in natural sunlight along with stability and reliability.

More about the study can be found here.
More about Nano3Dprint can be found here.

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