Direct Ink Writing of 3D Functional Materials


  • The author gratefully acknowledges the generous support for our work by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory (Grant# DEFG02-91ER45439), the Army Research Office through the MURI program under Award# DAAD19-03-1-0227, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under Award No. FA9550–05-1-0092 (Subaward No. E-18-C45-G1). This work has benefited greatly from the valuable contributions of J. Cesarano, J. Smay, G. Gratson, M. Xu, R. Shepherd, R. Rao, S. White, D. Therriault, F. Garcia, and P. Braun.


The ability to pattern materials in three dimensions is critical for several technological applications, including composites, microfluidics, photonics, and tissue engineering. Direct-write assembly allows one to design and rapidly fabricate materials in complex 3D shapes without the need for expensive tooling, dies, or lithographic masks. Here, recent advances in direct ink writing are reviewed with an emphasis on the push towards finer feature sizes. Opportunities and challenges associated with direct ink writing are also highlighted.