Printing metals is usually very difficult because they melt at such a high temperature. However, controlled placement can be achieved by melting the metals into micrometer-sized droplets using high-energy laser light. Then, the drop can be carefully moved and stacked onto a substrate.
The high melting point that makes metals difficult to manipulate when printing is the same thing that will make printed metal pieces valuable: the University of Twente suggested that the printing technique could be used to make small cooling elements or connections between stacked chips in cell phones.
Filed Under: Materials • advanced