Precision 3D printing of gold and copper managed




Scientists from the University of Twente have managed to metal with a high melting point, high-precision 3D printing. In this case, it is gold and copper. The metals were melted with laser light to micro-droplets, and then collected on a substrate.

pillar laser deposition That requires the university on its site. In this way, even highly conductive products from a 3D printer rollers as small ice packs or connections between the stacked chips.

Printing on different metals takes place for some time, for example through laser sintering, also known as selective laser sintering. A laser melts the powder layer after layer into a solid product, wherein a feed table sinterpoeder pushes it upward, while the object falls down on another table. After sintering, the object must also still be heated to just below the melting point of the sinterpoeder.

But laser sintering has a few drawbacks, explains lead researcher Claas-Willem Visser from Tweakers. Achieving a high resolution is difficult and you always need a bed for printing on. On the achievement of a high resolution possible manner developed by the research group. Of course there is a snag: to liquefy metal with a high melting point, high temperature is required, so as to print on plastics, is not possible.

The solution was found in the smelting of copper and gold with a laser to micro drops and present them checked down. This is achieved by focusing a pulsed laser on a metal film. The film melts and deforms to a drop. That drop is collected on a substrate. Because of this many times do succession, there can be printed at very high resolution. The article in Advanced Materials describes how thousands of droplets are stacked to micro pillars of 2mm, diameter of 5 micrometers.

The printing of metal to let them melting with a laser, is not new. What is new is the use of high-energy laser: the drops thus hit particularly hard in making them solidify as disk-shape. At lower laser energies solidify the droplets always spherical, something which is detrimental to the strength of the structure. Different laser energies also provide different droplet shapes and outcomes. The disadvantage of the high laser energy is that the drops sometimes go off the desired location, which has yet to be resolved.


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