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3D printed terahertz circuits boost for 5G comms and satellite sensors

December 04, 2018 / Helen Knight

Car radars, 5G communication systems, and satellite-based atmospheric sensors could all be improved as a result of a UK project to develop 3D printed terahertz and microwave circuits. Although 3D printing is widely used in many areas of manufacturing, its use in microwave and terahertz circuits has so far been limited by the level of precision required to build devices at such a small scale.
However, the accuracy of 3D printers has significantly improved in recent years, with some now able to print down to a resolution of five microns or less, according to Michael Lancaster at Birmingham University, who is leading the EPSRC-funded project.
So the research team is aiming to work with 3D printing companies to design and print novel devices at these small scales, he said. By using 3D printing techniques, the researchers hope to rapidly generate novel circuits with complex shapes and multiple functions in a lightweight form, without producing large amounts of waste material.