C3Nano, a Silicon Valley-based additive manufacturing (AM) materials company that specializes in conductive inks, announced the release of SuperGrid: a material that is pitched as “the first low-temperature curing,” flexible conductive ink for AM applications. As with conductive inks generally, SuperGrid is designed for use in electronics printing.
SuperGrid is a follow-up to C3Nano’s Activegrid LT conductive inks, which the company announced in Q4 of 2022. SuperGrid builds on the low-temperature curing advantage of the Activegrid series by dropping the curing temperature even further, to 25°C (about 77°F), while also improving flexibility. The latter consideration has become increasingly important in the AM materials market, the more that companies across the sector turn their focus towards printed electronics.
C3Nano anticipates that SuperGrid will have its biggest impact in the markets for semiconductor packaging and shielding for radio frequency (RF) components. In addition, owing to its transparency, flexibility, and relatively lower cost compared to other conductive inks, the company also expects that SuperGrid will attract interest from producers of the ever-expanding quantity of end-use goods that require screens.
Conductive inks exemplify one of the macro supply trends that, in general, best accounts for the recent acceleration of interest and progress in 3D printed electronics: the disappearance of boundaries between consumer electronics and all other manufacturing sectors. For instance, this same dynamic can be gleaned in the investment by Lockheed Martin Ventures in AM materials supplier Fortify, at the end of 2022.
Even in the heaviest industrial sectors like aerospace manufacturing, the demand for small-scale, flexible electronics is becoming the nucleus for supply chain management strategy. Thus, the ability to fast-cure conductive inks at room temperature is a selling point perfectly matched for the use of the materials on a greater scale.
Moreover, growth in the demand for conductive inks should only accelerate further, as the entire global industrial landscape continues to transition towards an energy security footing. The potential to use printed electronics in a wide range of sensors and control panels should be indispensable to the electrification of the power grid. Even more excitingly, the possibility for mass 3D printing of solar cells with conductive inks could lead be integral to the next generation of solar power.
Images courtesy of C3Nano
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