HomeProjectsRobotics and Advanced Manufacturing“Universal Ink” for Direct Laser Writing

“Universal Ink” for Direct Laser Writing

Project Quick Facts

Principal Investigator

  • Prof. YANG Sen

    Department of Physics

  • Funding

    Research Grants Council

  • Patent

    1 European patent, 1 USA patent and 1 China patent granted

Stemming from fundamental physics principles, the research team came up with a brand-new idea for material deposition. They combined the optical tweezer technique and semiconductor photoelectric effect, by introducing semiconductor nanoparticles suspension into metallate solution to form the “universal ink”. The focused laser beam triggers both effects simultaneously and induces chemical reduction reactions on the nanoparticles. The reduced metal particles accumulated on the semiconductor nanoparticles work as “glue” to join each other into a solid structure and attach to the substrate. By changing the focus position, selective deposition at an arbitrary position on the substrate is achieved. Through the change of “ink” recipes, the team realized deposition with various materials on different substrates.
Platinum “Universal Ink” printout of CUHK logo (The scale bar represents 50um)
Examples of double metal (platinum and gold) printing. Taichi double fish pattern (left); panda (right) (The scale bar represents 50um)
3D printed topography in iron (top) (The scale bar represents 100um); Schematic drawing of flexible devices and the repairing of the circuits (bottom)
Research team members
The research team discovers that carbon ink used by traditional Chinese calligraphy and ink painting is one of the best choices as the nanoparticles in this technology

Uniqueness and Competitive Advantages:

  • Enables fabrication of complex images made of different materials
  • Can be realised with simple equipment and be easily adapted everywhere
  • Environmental-friendly in terms of its low-cost and recyclability
  • Can integrate an optical detection/measurement device with this laser writing platform to monitor the deposition quality in situ

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