Scientists at Tsinghua University in China have developed a new method for 3D printing semiconductors. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, the process known as “3D Pin” does not use organic compounds, unlike conventional polymer binders.
Instead, a special ink with semiconductor nanocrystals is used. A molecular adhesive hardens the bonds between the nanocrystals when irradiated with a laser. This creates stable 3D structures.
According to the researchers, the method enables high precision. It can be used to print a variety of semiconductors, metals and metal oxides. As an example, a luminous pixel dragon was printed from red and blue semiconductor crystals.
In contrast to planar integrated circuits, 3D pins can be used to directly create three-dimensional structures. According to the researchers, the process is intended to complement rather than replace integrated circuit technology, particularly for 3D components. The results show great potential for the 3D printing of high-tech materials.