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Plasma Printing Techniques Deposit Nanomaterials on Flexible Substrates

by • March 29, 2016 • No Comments

I distinctly remember bringing a test in fifth grade science class in which I had to name the says of matter. I may have risked my small fifth grade reputation on the fact which gas, liquid, and solid were the just possible answers. Luckily, science rarely stalls or makes it to as a outcome of elementary school unit tests and although I didn’t learn it until later, a fourth say of matter, plasma, was in fact found in the middle of the nineteenth
century by William Crookes.

matter-says-03If I had to hazard a guess as to why plasma was left off the list when I went to grade school, I may imagine it may be for the reason it ruins the stove top matter transformation example where an ice cube is melted and and so makes its final conversion into a gas. After all, in order to put a substance into this say it must be subjected to a sturdy electromagnetic field…something which is just rarely on the market to your average 11-year-old…hopefully…

In any case, plasma is a thing and it’s time we all get utilized to it for the reason it is part of a fairly amazing set of developments in 3D printing. Namely, it is the say of the nanomaterials utilized in a new printing technique which allows for for the deposition of those materials onto a flexible, 3D substrate.

plasma-printingAs it turns out, the system by which nanoparticles can be printed in layers onto a substrate does not require anything just about as out of reach as one can at initially imagine. In fact, inkjet printing devices are doing it all the time. Unfortunately, they are limited to printing onto rigid materials, require a liquid printing material, and can just print onto the surface of 2D objects. To overcome these limitations, researchers of NASA and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made a system by which plasma can be printed onto flexible surfaces at a relatively low temperature. Not your typical elementary school science project.

Plasma-printed-OLED-lighting-test-structuresFor their initially trick, the team printed directly onto paper via carbon nanotubes and helium-ion plasma pushed through a nozzle. One of the major advantages of this new technique is the elimination of the require for heat treatment which kept things like printing on flammable materials such as paper or cloth out of the realm of possibilities. Mayya Meyyappan of NASA’s Ames Research Center explained the benefits of this new technique:

“You can use it to deposit things on paper, plastic, cotton, or any kind of textile. It is thought for soft substrates…I can do things inkjet printing cannot do. But [it can in addition do] anything inkjet printing can do, it can be fairly competitive.”

This plasma printing technique is thoughtl for the creation of chemical and biological sensors with the addition of carefully selected molecules to the plasma ink, the sensors can be made to react to particular compounds such as ammonia gas or dopamine. It is in addition possible to use the technique to print things such as copper which may allow for batteries to be printed on thin sheets of aluminum.

More information and detailed descriptions are on the market in a paper — “Plasma jet printing for flexible substrates” — written by the research team and published in the journal Applied Physics. The paper’s authors included Ram P. Gandhiraman, Eric Singh, Diana C. Diaz-Cartagena, Dennis Nordlund, Jessica Koehne and M. Meyyappan. Tell us your thoughts on this new innovation in the 3D Printed Substrates forum over at 3DPB.com.