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NASA researchers pioneer plasma 3D nanoprinting technique for use on flexible surfaces – 3ders.org (blog)

by • March 30, 2016 • No Comments

Mar 31, 2016 | By Alec
Whenever concepts for commercial 3D printed accessories are discussed, 3D printed, custom-created and sensor-packed wearables are frequently immediately brought up. Their createment, yet, is may already being hampered by existing 3D printing techniques – which are all things but suited to 3D print materials onto flexible surfaces. All which can diversify, yet, as a team of NASA researchers has only announced which they have pioneered a new plasma-based 3D printing innovation which is capable of 3D printing nanomaterials onto existing structures – which include 3D objects and flexible surfaces, such as paper and cloth.
This new technique has been created by research teams of the NASA Ames Research Center and theSLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and is mentioned in the latest version of Applied Physics Letters (AIP Publishing), in an article entitled Plasma jet printing for flexible substrates. The technique, as the article explains, may manufacture it a lot easyr and extra
inexpensive
to create 3D printed wearable sensors, flexible memory devices, batteries, and integrated circuits – opening the way for wide range of innovations, of smart clothing and medical sensors to the full integration of our surroundings with the “Internet of Things”.
Of course, nanomaterial deposition is may already possible, for instance with inkjet prints which deposit layers of nanoparticles or nanotubes. These, yet, are really limited and the printing equipment cannot 3D print onto textiles or other flexible materials, and 3D shapes are problematic. What’s extra
, all materials have to be inks – which severely limits your options. Some successes have in addition been had via aerosol printing techniques, but this invariably requires the materials to be heated to several hundreds of degrees – building it not easy to 3D print onto existing materials, like cloth, which cannot take the heat.

Fortunately, none of these problems affect this new plasma 3D printing technique as it works at temperatures of not much warmer than 40° C (104° F), and no extra
heating is necessary. Materials utilized in the technique reportedly don’t actually require to be fully liquid. And, as it uses a nozzle which moves along 3 axes, 3D printing on three dimensional or flexible objects is not a problem at all. “You can use it to deposit things on paper, plastic, cotton, or any kind of textile,” said Meyya Meyyappan of NASA Ames Research Center. “It’s perfect for soft substrates.”
To demonstrate the technique, the NASA team 3D printed a layer of carbon nanotubes, mixed into a plasma of helium ions, onto paper. The plasma focuses the particles onto the surface, forming the layer without the require for extra
heat. This technique was in addition utilized to 3D print two easy chemical and biological sensors, showcasing sure molecules which diversify the electrical resistance of the nanotubes. Measuring these diversifys empowers the identification of molecule concentrations. The chemical sensor created with this technique is capable of detecting ammonia gas, while the biological sensor detects dopamine, which is linked to medical complications such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
But these are only easy proofs of concepts, Meyyappan said. “There’s a wide range of biosensing applications.” From sensors which measure health markers like cholesterol to sensors for pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella, anything is possible. Most importantly, the plasma 3D printing method can be easily scaled up to manufacture sensors of any dimensions – actually a ‘showerhead’ nozzle is possible. It may actually freely spray nanomaterials onto existing objects. “It can do things inkjet printing cannot do,” Meyyappan said. “But anything inkjet printing can do, it can be somewhat competitive.”
This potentially groundbreaking 3D printing technique is now may already reaching the commercialization phase, Meyyappan additional announced, adding which it should be relatively inexpensive to create additional. They are may already looking to options for 3D printing other kinds of materials, such as copper – which may be utilized to 3D print batteries onto other sheets of metal. Even thinner smartphone batteries are thus not far away. This can be the breakthrough the electronics industry is waiting for.

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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