Semiconductor ‘Solder’ to Usher in a New Wave of 3D Printed Electronics

RAPID

Share this Article

A research effort led by Dmitri Talapin, a chemistry professor at the University of Chicago, has demonstrated how semiconductors could be soldered – and even 3D printed — and still deliver the proper electronic performance.

semiconductor solder for 3d printingThe classical method of manufacturing processes in the silicon industry does not require soldering; instead, engineers create a large silicon crystal which they can cut, carve, and etch to a desired shape.

Dimitri Talapin

Dmitri Talapin

And while semiconductor soldering probably won’t have a major impact on mainstream silicon manufacturing technology, it could lead to less expensive, solution-processed semiconductors in markets like those for printable electronics, 3D printing, flat panel display manufacturing, solar cells, and thermoelectric heat-to-electricity generators.

As printable electronics require assembly of semiconductors from discrete pieces via nano-manufacturing, they need to be adhered together. Semiconductors are critical to current electronics devices, and from computer chips to solar cells, materials capable of conducting electricity and generating or controlling electrical current are crucial pieces of the puzzle.

Talapin says he and his associates developed the new solder material to join pieces of semiconducting surfaces, and the material doesn’t interfere with processes which are very sensitive to impurities and defects in their structure.

“It’s like what people call additive manufacturing, when you add things and build from pieces,” Talapin says. “If you want to assemble pieces, you need a solder or glue or connectors. We worked out new chemistry for a broad class of compositions relevant to technologically important semiconductors. If you put two pieces of semiconductor next to each other, each joint will be unique, and in most cases, will block transport of charges. You will not be able to make a reasonably good electronic circuit by simply taking different semiconductor pieces and pressing them against each other as you could do with metals.”

The team, which included Talapin, associates from the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, published their findings in a paper entitled “Composition-Matched Molecular ‘Solders’ for Semiconductors” in the journal Science.

150217154050-largeThe compounds, composed of cadmium, lead, and bismuth, can be applied as a liquid or paste to join pieces of a semiconductor after heating them to several hundred degrees Celsius.

“Our paste or our liquid converts cleanly into a material that will be compositionally matched to the bonded parts, and that required development of new chemistry. We had to design special molecules that fulfill this requirement so that they do not contaminate the material,” Talapin says. “We expect it to be used soon by manufacturers who need to join semiconductor parts, but it could also create new markets in the growing semiconductor industry. For example, it would enable 3D printing of semiconductors and create possibilities for new technologies.”

Part of the work relied on the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source at the Argonne National Laboratory.

Do you know of other materials breakthroughs in 3D printing and additive manufacturing? Let us know in the Semiconductor Solder forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing News Briefs, June 15, 2024: 3D Printed Research & Lamps & Guns & More

EOS Metal 3D Printers to Feature nLight Lasers



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Featured

Powering the Future: EOS’s Fabian Alefeld on Additive Manufacturing

In the world of 3D printing, innovation is a constant. However, the industry faces a complex landscape marked by opportunities and challenges. In 2023, the global 3D printing market totaled...

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: May 26, 2024

In the weekly 3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup, ASTM’s AMCOE concludes its professional certificate course, while Solid Print3D will offer a masterclass on Form 4 materials. If you’re in...

ISRO Successfully Tests 3D-Printed Liquid Rocket Engine for 665 Seconds

On May 9, 2024, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully conducted a long-duration hot test of a 3D printed liquid rocket engine. The tested engine, known as PS4, is...

Printing Money Episode 17: Recent 3D Printing Deals, with Alex Kingsbury

Printing Money is back with Episode 17!  Our host, NewCap Partners‘ Danny Piper, is joined by Alex Kingsbury for this episode, so you can prepare yourself for smart coverage laced...