Drops, Jets and High-Resolution 3D Printing: Fundamentals and Applications

  • Richard Caulfield
  • Feihuang Fang
  • Manish K. Tiwari
Part of the Energy, Environment, and Sustainability book series (ENENSU)


The ability to print high-resolution (<10 µm) three-dimensional (3D) features is important in numerous existing and emerging applications such as tissue engineering, nano-electronics, photovoltaics, optics, biomedical devices. The current chapter is focused on a subset of high-resolution printing techniques that exploit micro- and nano-fluidics features to attain high resolution. Here, these approaches are referred as fluidics assisted high-resolution 3D printing. Salient examples of such techniques are electrohydrodynamic printing, direct-write assembly, aerosol jet printing, etc. The chapter starts with a brief introduction and discussion on the challenges of high-resolution printing. This is followed by a section on fundamental mechanisms of droplet, jet and filament formations and their role in deciding the print resolution. Commonalities between different printing techniques (e.g. the physics of jet break-up and role of capillary stresses) are highlighted in order to provide a systematic understanding and context. Next, the fluid mechanics features determining the print resolution and quality are discussed in detail. This includes sections on the role of ink rheology, evaporation rate, nozzle size, substrate and nozzle wetting properties (i.e. surface energy) and dynamic effects such as drop impact and spreading, stability of printed liquid lines and liquid filaments. Wherever relevant, literature on much more established inkjet printing techniques is also exploited to provide a context for the high-resolution printing and clarify the distinct benefits and challenges that emerge at progressively higher resolutions. In the wetting and surface energy section, features of dip-pen lithography and transfer printing, two popular techniques for two-dimensional high-resolution printing, are also briefly introduced for completeness. Lastly, the chapter ends with a summary and brief perspective on future research trends in this area.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Caulfield
    • 1
  • Feihuang Fang
    • 1
  • Manish K. Tiwari
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Nanoengineered Systems Laboratory, UCL Mechanical EngineeringUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Wellcome EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS)University College LondonLondonUK

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