Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed three-dimensional (3D) printing technology and techniques to create free-standing structures made of liquid metal at room temperature.
The team developed multiple techniques for creating these structures, which can be used to connect electronic components in three dimensions. While it is relatively straightforward to pattern the metal “in plane” – meaning all on the same level – these liquid metal structures can also form shapes that reach up or down.
One technique involves stacking droplets of liquid metal on top of each other, much like a stack of oranges at the supermarket. The droplets adhere to one another, but retain their shape – they do not merge into a single, larger droplet.
Another method injects liquid metal into a polymer template, so that the metal takes on a specific shape. The template is then dissolved, leaving the bare, liquid metal in the desired shape.
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