At Carnegie Mellon University, Professor Rahul Panat and his team led the research on the 3D printed Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) devices. Using custom micropillars to capture communication signals from neurons is an innovative approach. The bending of micropillars during the sintering process it is a common post-processing step to fuse particles to achieve a solid and functional component.
The research team explores a few potential solutions; Material selection for stiffness, thermal expansion coefficient, and sintering behavior plays a crucial role in determining the structural integrity of the printed components; Process optimization for temperature, duration, or atmosphere could mitigate the bending issue; Support structures during the printing process could provide additional stability to the micropillars and prevent them from bending. These supports can be designed to be easily removable or sacrificial, allowing for their removal after printing; Design modification for reducing the micropillars’ aspect ratio (height-to-width ratio) or incorporating reinforcing features could enhance their mechanical stability.
Post-processing techniques for heat treatment or surface modification may offer a solution to strengthen the micropillars and prevent bending.
By Lynn Shea, Carnegie Mellon University Mechanical Engineering.