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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 May 9;10(18):15841-15846. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b01455. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Three-Dimensionally Printed Micro-electromechanical Switches.

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School of Electrical Engineering , Kookmin University , Seoul 02707 , Korea.
Mechatronics R&D Center , Samsung Electronics , Hwaseong , Gyeonggi-do 18448 , Korea.
Department of Nano-process , National Nanofab Center (NNFC) , Daejeon 34141 , Korea.
Department of Electrical Engineering , Sejong University , Seoul 05006 , Korea.


Three-dimensional (3D) printers have attracted considerable attention from both industry and academia and especially in recent years because of their ability to overcome the limitations of two-dimensional (2D) processes and to enable large-scale facile integration techniques. With 3D printing technologies, complex structures can be created using only a computer-aided design file as a reference; consequently, complex shapes can be manufactured in a single step with little dependence on manufacturer technologies. In this work, we provide a first demonstration of the facile and time-saving 3D printing of two-terminal micro-electromechanical (MEM) switches. Two widely used thermoplastic materials were used to form 3D-printed MEM switches; freely suspended and fixed electrodes were printed from conductive polylactic acid, and a water-soluble sacrificial layer for air-gap formation was printed from poly(vinyl alcohol). Our 3D-printed MEM switches exhibit excellent electromechanical properties, with abrupt switching characteristics and an excellent on/off current ratio value exceeding 106. Therefore, we believe that our study makes an innovative contribution with implications for the development of a broader range of 3D printer applications (e.g., the manufacturing of various MEM devices and sensors), and the work highlights a uniquely attractive path toward the realization of 3D-printed electronics.


3D printer; MEMS; switches; thermoplastic; water-soluble


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