A microprinter can print piezoelectric films 100 times faster for the production of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for sensors, wearable, or implantable medical devices, offering the possibility to lower the mass production costs.

The microprinter, built at a comparatively lower cost as compared with other printers on the market, utilizes an electrostatic field to propel streams of ink onto a platform, allowing for efficient manipulation of thin film patterns and enhanced printing speed to address the challenge of mass production and control of structures and feature sizes.

Nanoparticles, films, and patterns are three critical piezoelectric elements with widespread applications in sensing, actuation, catalysis, and energy harvesting. Mass production of these elements remains a challenge to date as exerting control of these structures and feature sizes on various substrates is a complicated process.

The manufacturing speed has been enhanced by a factor of 100, allowing for efficient manipulation of thin film patterns similar to semiconductor lithography. For instance, a 10 μm-thick PZT film on a 4-in. Si wafer can be fabricated in just 10 minutes using the printer, with minimal material wastage. (Image credit: HKUST)

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