Advanced manufacturing strategies have enabled large‐scale, economical, and efficient production of electronic components that are an integral part of various consumer products ranging from simple toys to intricate computing systems; however, the circuitry for these components is (by and large) produced via top‐down lithography and is thus limited to planar surfaces. The present work demonstrates the use of reconfigurable soft microreactors for the patterned deposition of conductive copper traces on flat and embossed two‐dimensional (2D) substrates as well as nonplanar substrates made from different commodity plastics. Using localized, flow‐assisted, low‐temperature, electroless copper deposition, conductive metallic traces are fabricated, which, when combined with various off‐the‐shelf electronic components, enabled the production of simple circuits and antennas with unique form factors. This solution‐phase approach to the patterned deposition of functional inorganic materials selectively on different polymeric components will provide relatively simple, inexpensive processing opportunities for the fabrication of 2D/nonplanar devices when compared to complicated manufacturing methods such as laser‐directed structuring. Further, this approach to the patterned metallization of different commodity plastics offers unique design opportunities applicable to the fabrication of planar and nonplanar electronic and interconnect devices, and other free‐form electronics with less structural “bloat” and weight (by directly coating support elements with circuitry).
microfluidics, electroless deposition, functional coatings, patterned metallization, 3D circuits
Date of this Version
Available for download on Saturday, August 10, 2019