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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

An Additive Manufacturing Technique for the Production of Electronic Circuits

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

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Under the support of a FY 2016 NASA Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract (NASA contract number NNX16CM40P), Morningbird Media Corporation in collaboration with Alabama A&M University Research, Innovation in Science and Engineering (AAMU-RISE) Foundation, has devised a unique method for an additive manufacturing technique for the direct 3D printing of functional electronics. This method involves the preparation of proprietary fast curable inks as well as filaments for the critical materials necessary; the cartridge deposition technologies, and the software layout and control to produce a multitude of electronic devices. The primary goal of the Phase I effort was to determine the viability of the additive manufacturing technique from a materials standpoint. Morningbird Media Corporation has developed new techniques to create the ink-based and/or filament based materials for conductive, resistive, capacitive, semiconducting and insulating materials. Several methodologies were explored: (a) direct laser melting of nanopowders onto the surface, (b) an ink-based approach using nanopowder mixtures with fast UV curable epoxy, (c) nanopowder/ABS material mixtures in an acetone solution, and (d) filaments created from a nanopowder and a thermoplastic adhesive. The company has also designed a unique print cartridge and a layout and control software package. We determined the most viable material development process and applied it to a prototype printer to produce and test the first electronic elements. This printing technique completely eliminates the needs of post-processing. This work has the capability of revolutionizing the way electronics are designed, produced, and implemented in all of technology. A commercial product development strategy is formulated around the Electronic Alchemy (TM) system as a consumer product in order to print unique 3D structures with electrical/electronic functionality. More »

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