The U.S. Patent Office in February issued a patent for “3D printed active electronic materials and devices.” The patent covers work that McAlpine, a University of Minnesota mechanical engineering professor, and Yong Lin Kong, a University of Utah mechanical engineering professor, conducted when they were at Princeton University. Princeton is the patent’s assignee.
The patent describes a 3D printing method to produce active electronics made of semiconducting materials — a method that only uses a 3D printer. “These disclosed semiconductors may provide a multitude of end uses, such as wearable displays and/or continuous on-eye glucose sensors,” the patent said. “These devices may also include a range of functionality, from including quantum dot light-emitting diodes (QD-LEDs), MEMS devices, transistors, solar cells, piezoelectrics, batteries, fuel cells and photodiodes.”