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Three-Dimensionally Printed Micro-electromechanical Switches

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journal contribution
posted on 24.04.2018 by Yongwoo Lee, Jungmin Han, Bongsik Choi, Jinsu Yoon, Jinhee Park, Yeamin Kim, Jieun Lee, Dae Hwan Kim, Dong Myong Kim, Meehyun Lim, Min-Ho Kang, Sungho Kim, Sung-Jin Choi
Three-dimensional (3D) printers have attracted considerable attention from both industry and academia and especially in recent years because of their ability to overcome the limitations of two-dimensional (2D) processes and to enable large-scale facile integration techniques. With 3D printing technologies, complex structures can be created using only a computer-aided design file as a reference; consequently, complex shapes can be manufactured in a single step with little dependence on manufacturer technologies. In this work, we provide a first demonstration of the facile and time-saving 3D printing of two-terminal micro-electromechanical (MEM) switches. Two widely used thermoplastic materials were used to form 3D-printed MEM switches; freely suspended and fixed electrodes were printed from conductive polylactic acid, and a water-soluble sacrificial layer for air-gap formation was printed from poly­(vinyl alcohol). Our 3D-printed MEM switches exhibit excellent electromechanical properties, with abrupt switching characteristics and an excellent on/off current ratio value exceeding 106. Therefore, we believe that our study makes an innovative contribution with implications for the development of a broader range of 3D printer applications (e.g., the manufacturing of various MEM devices and sensors), and the work highlights a uniquely attractive path toward the realization of 3D-printed electronics.