Optomec's LENS 450 printer uses a patented aerosol jet print head

3D printer manufacturer and supplier Optomec has been awarded a U.S. patent providing protection for a miniaturized Aerosol Jet print head geometry that is significantly smaller, lighter weight and lower cost than preceding generations.

The new design allows for a range of production applications, such as 3D printing small electronics onto large structures in location, and 3D printing electronics into hard to reach places such as recesses and cavities.

The patent also includes provisions for multiplexing the miniaturized print head geometry within linear arrays or custom arrangements for high-volume production scale-up.

"The miniaturized Aerosol Jet print head can be used for many applications," said Optomec Chief Technology Officer Dr. Mike Renn. "As a linear array using a single material, it is a means for increasing throughput with simple parallel processing for high volume applications, such as printed touch screen displays."

"However, the array doesn't have to be linear; custom placement of multiple print heads for a specific application is also an option," he said. "Looking into the future, Aerosol Jet (print heads) could print different materials from each miniaturized print head in the array. In this case, Aerosol Jet Printers could produce complex multi-material, multi-layered devices such as transistors, capacitors, sensors, and resistors, on a single system."

Optomec Aerosol Jet Printers are used to directly print functional electronic circuitry and components onto low-temperature surfaces without a protective barrier. They utilize an innovative focusing technique to aim a dense mist of material-laden micro droplets into a tightly controlled beam. They can print features as small as 10 microns or as large as several millimeters in a single pass.