3D printed electronics

Breakthrough printing technology for series manufacturing

Holst Centre is a pioneer of flexible and printed electronics with an extensive portfolio of breakthrough technologies. One of the most promising innovations of the past years is 3D printed electronics. This technology boosts the performance of next-generation electronic devices like sensors and medical instruments where volumetric constraints apply.

3D printed electronics is an emerging technology at the intersection of 3D printing and printed electronics. It combines structural and electronic manufacturing in a single step. The electronic circuits are created using printed-electronics technologies as part of the 3D-printing production process, embedding them directly into structural components. This means there is no longer a need for separate circuit boards or electronics layers, giving complete three-dimensional design freedom and inherent protection from dust and dirt. This patented printing process is scalable up to 10,000 cm3 of integrated electronics per hour, making it significantly faster than inkjet and dispensing technologies. At this high-speed, resolutions of less than 10 microns can be realized, opening up the possibility to embed bare dies and ultimately enabling serial manufacturing of systems-in-package.

3D printed electronics technology
State of play

Since 2017, Holst Centre collaborates with its partners in the Hyb-Man, Lee-BED and Ampere consortia to develop this 3D printing process and demonstrate its capabilities. The design advantages are beneficial in multiple fields.

Promising application areas include:

  • The medical industry, for the production of sensor-equipped surgical instruments

  • The defence industry, to monitor and control ammunition and improved communications

  • The high-tech equipment sector, for faster and more accurate sensors The semiconductor industry, for 3D heterogeneous integration

The applicability of our technology for 3D heterogeneous integration is being explored together with the Chip Integration Technology Center (CITC).

At Holst Centre, we continue to explore the potential of this promising technology, and we are keen to get in contact with potential end-users to discuss requirements and specifications. Our final goal is to prove feasibility for specific applications and to support the industry in adopting this new technology. At Holst Centre a proto-tool is available, which is compatible with a wide range of materials and supports all research activities.