Researchers at the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) have developed an inkjet printing technique that can be used to print optical components, such as waveguides. The printing approach can also fabricate electronics and microfluidics.
“Inkjet printing is a very attractive method for fabricating optical components because the positions and sizes of features can easily be modified and there is virtually no material waste,” said CSEM researcher Fabian Lütolf. “However, the surface tension of the inks makes it difficult to print lines with a specific height, which is necessary to create a waveguide.”
Used as an additive manufacturing technique, inkjet printing uses tiny nozzles like the ones found in desktop inkjet printers to deposit a computer-generated pattern of drops onto a substrate to build a structure.