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The new process being tested by the University of Hamburg and DESY makes it possible to produce transparent, mechanically flexible electronic circuitry. It applies silver nanowires in a suspension to a substrate, which is then dried. Layer by layer, a conductive surface emerges. Depending on the design, this method can be used to print a variety of electronic components. The researchers have already tested the process on the production of a flexible capacitor – using a conventional layer technique, however. In the future, a 3D printer will be able to achieve an equivalent result. However, improvements in printing technology will need to be made for this to happen. “For inkjet-based processes, nanostructures can clog the injectors,” explains Michael Rübhausen from the University of Hamburg.

Last year, Dr. Anna-Lena Gutberlet , a member of the “Elektronikpraxis,” described 3D-printed electronics as “the holy grail of electronics manufacturing.” Experts in this field will be convening in Würzburg on July 10 for the third Praxisforum . Its target groups include production experts and decision-makers in the industrial value-creation chain.