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AbstractThe ability to inkjet print three-dimensional objects with integrated conductive metal provides many opportunities for fabrication of radio frequency electronics and electronics in general. Both a plastic material and silver conductor are deposited by inkjet printing in this work. This is the first demonstration of a fully 3D Multijet printing process with integrated polymer and metal. A 2.4 GHz patch antenna is successfully fabricated with good performance proving the viability of the process. The inkjet printed plastic surface is very smooth, with less than 100 nm root mean square roughness. The printed silver nanoparticles are laser sintered to achieve adequate conductivity of 1e6 S/m while keeping the process below 80oC and avoiding damage to the polymer. The antenna is designed with a honeycomb substrate which minimizes material consumption. This reduces the weight, dielectric constant and dielectric loss which are all around beneficial. The antenna is entirely inkjet printed including the ground plane conductor and achieves an impressive 81% efficiency. The honeycomb substrate weighs twenty times less than a solid substrate. For comparison the honeycomb antenna provides an efficiency nearly 15% greater than a similarly fabricated antenna with a solid substrate.
CitationA Fully Inkjet Printed 3D Honeycomb Inspired Patch Antenna 2015:1 IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters