..."We have shown that resistors, inductors an capacitors can be fabricated using a 3-D printer and formed into circuits as passive wireless sensors," Lin told EE Times. "The trick was to print with a polymer to define the needed 3-D structures and use wax as a sacrificial material to define where the passive components were to be, then melt the wax and fill the resulting vacancies with silver paste using a syringe."
Other researchers have printed 3D circuitry using conductive polymers as the components, but Lin says that the performance of such an approach can never be as good as using real metals as the conductors. Li and colleagues also used the same techniques to make wires and vias to connect all the components into wireless R-L-C circuits that actually worked when tested.
The printing resolution of the 3D printer used for the proof-of-concept prototype had a resolution of 30 microns and a liquid paste containing silver particles was used to fill the electronic components and interconnect. The resulting passive circuit used an embedded inductor-capacitor tank with a resonant frequency of 530 MHz, which showed a 4.3 percent resonant shift when the milk spoiled....
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