New method fills a need in emerging applications for electronic devices
Contact lenses that can monitor your health as well as correct your eyesight aren't science fiction, but an efficient manufacturing method - finding a way to produce the curved lenses with embedded electronics - has remained elusive.
Until now. A team of researchers from the University of Houston and the University of Colorado Boulder has reported developing a new manufacturing method, known as conformal additive stamp printing, or CAS printing, to produce the lenses, solar cells and other three-dimensional curvy electronics.
The work, reported in the journal Nature Electronics, demonstrates the use of the manufacturing technique to produce a number of curvy devices not suited to current production methods. The work is also highlighted by the journal Nature.
"We tested a number of existing techniques to see if they were appropriate for manufacturing curvy electronics," said Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston and corresponding author on the paper. "The answer is no. They all had limitations and problems."
Instead, Yu, who is also a principal investigator with the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, and his team devised a new method, which they report opens the door to the efficient production of a range of curvy electronic devices, from wearables to optoelectronics, telecommunications and biomedical applications.
"Electronic devices are typically manufactured in planar layouts, but many emerging applications, from optoelectronics to wearables, require three-dimensional curvy structures," the researchers wrote. "However, the fabrication of such structures has proved challenging due, in particular, to the lack of an effective manufacturing technology."
Existing manufacturing technologies, including microfabrication, don't work for curved, three-dimensional electronics because they are inherently designed to produce two-dimensional, flat electronic devices, Yu said. But increasingly, there is a need for electronic devices that require curvy, 3-D shapes, including smart contact lenses, curved imagers, electronic antennas and hemispherical solar cells, among other devices.
These devices are small - ranging in size from millimeters to centimeters - with accuracy within a few microns.
Recognizing that, Yu and the other researchers proposed the new fabrication method, conformal additive stamp printing, or CAS printing.
CAS printing works like this: An elastomeric, or stretchy, balloon is inflated and coated with a sticky substance. It is then used as a stamping medium, pushing down on pre-fabricated electronic devices to pick up the electronics and then print them onto various curvy surfaces. In the paper, the researchers describe using the method to create a variety of curvy devices, including silicon pellets, photodetector arrays, small antennas, hemispherical solar cells and smart contact lenses.
The work was performed using a manual version of the CAS printer, although the researchers also designed an automated version. Yu said that will make it easy to scale up production.
In addition to Yu, co-authors include Kyoseung Sim, Song Chen, Zhoulyu Rao, Jingshen Liu, Yuntao Lu, Seonmin Jang, Faheem Ershad and Ji Chen, all with UH, and Zhengwei Li and Jianliang Xiao, both with the University of Colorado Boulder.
This work was supported by National Science Foundation.
Jeannie Kever | EurekAlert!
Energy Flow in the Nano Range
18.10.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Biologically inspired skin improves robots' sensory abilities (Video)
11.10.2019 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)
A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)
It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...
Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.
The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...
Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.
Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...
A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.
The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...
Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...
02.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
19.09.2019 | Event News
18.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.10.2019 | Medical Engineering
18.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy