These functional inks contain nanoparticles of different compounds such as lithium for batteries and silver for wires. They get printed at room temperature as a liquid, but become a solid after printing. It also means that electronics and batteries can be manufactured together and in configurations that have not been possible before.
Lewis printed a battery that is just 1mm square with an accuracy of 100nm and the reliability of a commercial battery. Functional inks, nozzles and extruders was first introduced back in June and is still at the early stages. However, Lewis has reached a point now where patents exist covering how they function, and the tech is starting to be licensed.
She wants to get them into the hands of manufacturers, but also doesn’t see a reason why a 3D printer couldn’t be offered for home users.