Photo of Wood-Derived Cellulose Material.
SFU professor Woo Soo Kim is leading the research team's discovery involving the use of a wood-derived cellulose material to replace the plastics and polymeric materials currently used in electronics. (Credit: SFU)

Researchers are developing an eco-friendly, 3D printable solution for producing wireless Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors that can be used and disposed of without contaminating the environment. Additionally, 3D printing can give flexibility to add or embed functions onto 3D shapes or textiles, creating greater functionality.

“Our eco-friendly 3D printed cellulose sensors can wirelessly transmit data during their life, and then can be disposed without concern of environmental contamination,” says Kim, a professor in the School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering. The SFU research is being carried out at PowerTech Labs in Surrey, which houses several state-of-the-art 3D printers used to advance the research.

In a second project, researchers have developed a new breakthrough in the embossing process technology, one that can freely imprint fine circuit patterns on flexible polymer substrate, a necessary component of electronic products.

Embossing technology is applied for the mass imprinting of precise patterns at a low unit cost. However, Kim says it can only imprint circuit patterns that are imprinted beforehand on the pattern stamp, and the entire, costly stamp must be changed to put in different patterns.

The team succeeded in developing a precise location control system that can imprint patterns directly resulting in a new process technology. The result will have widespread implications for use in semiconductor processes, wearable devices, and the display industry.

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