The printing of functional materials is manufacturing technology e.g. for polymer electronics, organic LED, solar cells and wiring that is resource efficient and seen to be a visionary production technique. Being a locally generative method of creating structures and geometries it allows depositing functional materials exactly and only there where they are needed.
Fraunhofer IOF develops technologies for the ink jet printing of wirings made of silver and gold as well as that of actuation materials. These actuation materials are electro active polymers that change volume when applying an electric field and thus induce deformations and movements. When electro active polymers are printed in between electrode structures planar bending and deformating geometries can be created. This can be interesting for optical applications such as OLEDs and solar cells, since there the movement of micro optical structures can improve the illumination quality or the power conversion from light to electrical energy. Also in life science applications such as Lab-on-Chip for point-of-care diagnostics printed actuation structures are of interest, e.g. for chip integrated pumps and valves.