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by Alexander Fäh

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Innovative Developments in Additive Manufacturing: New Compound Revolutionizes Telecommunication Antennas

  • UBC Okanagan and Drexel University researchers have developed a new compound for additive manufacturing of telecommunication antennas and connectivity devices.

  • Integration of MXenes into polymer-based parts offers lighter and more cost-effective alternatives to metallic components, with comparable performance.


UBC Okanagan Researchers and Drexel University Unveil Breakthrough in Additive Manufacturing for Telecommunication Devices.

The new combination of MXenes and polymers enables the 3D printing of telecommunication antennas and other connectivity devices.
The new combination of MXenes and polymers enables the 3D printing of telecommunication antennas and other connectivity devices.

In a groundbreaking development, researchers at UBC Okanagan, in collaboration with Drexel University, have created a new compound that can be used for 3D printing telecommunication antennas and other connectivity devices. These 3D printed products, formed by combining a two-dimensional compound called MXenes with a polymer, offer an alternative to metallic counterparts and promise significant advancements in communication technology, including antennas, waveguides, and filters.

Dr. Mohammad Zarifi, a researcher at the Microelectronics and Gigahertz Applications (OMEGA) Lab at UBC Okanagan, explains that waveguides, though ubiquitous, are often misunderstood by the general public. Waveguides are structures or tubes that aid in directing sound and optical waves in communication devices and consumer appliances like microwaves. Traditionally, waveguides have been made of metal due to their conductive properties.

Dr. Zarifi and his OMEGA team develop cutting-edge communication components that provide comparable performance to metal but are 10 to 20 times lighter, more cost-effective, and easier to fabricate.

MXenes are an emerging family of two-dimensional materials, with titanium carbide MXene leading in terms of electrical conductivity, as explained by Dr. Yury Gogotsi, Director of the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute at Drexel University in Philadelphia. The integration of MXenes into 3D-printed nylon-based parts enhances the efficiency of channel-like structures in guiding microwaves to frequency bands.

This capability, within a lightweight, additively manufactured component, can influence the design and manufacturing of electronic communication devices in the aerospace and satellite industry, notes Omid Niksan, a doctoral student at UBCO School of Engineering.

The researchers have filed a provisional patent for the polymer-based MXene-coated communication components. Dr. Zarifi emphasizes the tremendous potential of this technology.

The research was conducted in collaboration with scientists from the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute at Drexel University and supported by the Department of National Defence, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the United States National Science Foundation. It was published in the latest edition of the journal Materials Today.


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