Digitally-Driven Micro Surface Patterning by Hybrid Manufacturing

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Smith, Matthew A.A.
Fry, Nicholas R.
Kay, Robert W.
Harris, Russell A.

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University of Texas at Austin


Aerosol Jet printing is a versatile direct-write method allowing selective deposition and alteration of surface chemistry on a variety of substrates, making it suitable for incorporation in a range of hybrid manufacturing processes. The digitally controlled nature of the presented hybrid manufacturing process enables rapid turnaround of designs, and improvements in flexibility and complexity compared to established methods. The apparatus and instrumentation that has been created at the University of Leeds enables specific processing conditions that result in deposition of features with critical dimensions smaller than 20µm. In this study the analysis of the effect of process variables on deposition geometries is presented. The features were assessed by a combination of optical microscopy and white light interferometry. Using in-process machine vision, topographical compensation, and alignment capability the deposition of material into micropatterned features in poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) was demonstrated. High-value applications of this technology for surface functionalisation include electronics and bio-engineering.


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