Aerosol Printing and Flash Sintering of Conformal Conductors on 3D Nonplanar Surfaces


Printing techniques have been extensively studied as a promising route towards large-scale, low-cost and high-throughput manufacturing process for electronic devices. With the recently emerging applications in wearable electronics and customizable conformal electronics, it calls for the necessity to develop printed electronics that function on complex, 3D nonplanar architectures. In this study, aerosol printing and flash sintering of conformal conductors on nonplanar surfaces are demonstrated. Various printed patterns are fabricated by aerosol printing of conductive ink by copper nanoparticles (Cu NPs) on both planar and nonplanar surfaces. Pulsed flash light introduces rapid sintering of the printed Cu patterns in the ambient environment. For the nonplanar patterns, a back reflector is utilized to improve the uniformity of sintering. As a result, highly conductive customizable nonplanar Cu patterns with conductivity at 10%-12% of that of bulk Cu are obtained. Effects of different sintering conditions, including sintering voltage and mounting distance on the conductivity of sintered patterns are studied. For nonplanar patterns, conductivity values at different localized spots on the nonplanar rod are also investigated to evaluate the uniformity of nonplanar sintering. The processes of aerosol printing and flash sintering have provided a facile manufacturing route for conformal conductors on arbitrary nonplanar objects.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Publication Status

In Press, Corrected Proof


National Science Foundation, Grant DE-NA0002839

Keywords and Phrases

Aerosol printing; Conformal conductors; Copper nanoparticles; Flash sintering; Printed electronics

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2021 Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

30 Sep 2021