Mechanical Engineering assistant professor Yong Lin Kong has been awarded a U.S. Patent on his pioneering work 3D printing active (semiconductor) electronic materials and devices (U.S. Patent 9,887,356).

Prior to the invention, 3D printing has been primarily limited to the printing of passive structural components (plastic, metal, ceramic), biological construct or passive electronics such as electrical conductive traces. This invention extended the reach of 3D printing and demonstrated that active electronic materials and devices can be entirely 3D printed; enabling a seamlessly incorporation of active electronics and devices.

This broad patent covers the 3D printing of active electronic materials and devices that enabled the printing of such devices on a three-dimensional surfaces and the creation of hybrid 3D printed devices containing active electronics. []

The patent was awarded based on the pioneering work initiated at Princeton University with Kong’s Ph.D. advisor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering professor Michael McAlpine. Initially this work was published in Nano Letters (ACS-American Chemical Society – publication). It has over 100 citations and has been highlighted in the Nature Journal twice.

For more information on Kong’s research, publications and exciting future work here at the U expanding from this invention, please visit the Additive Manufacturing Laboratory research group.

Kong patent

Y.L. Kong, I.A. Tamargo, H. Kim, B.N. Johnson, M.K. Gupta, T.-W. Koh, H.-A. Chin, D.A. Steingart, B.P. Rand, M.C. McAlpine. “3D Printed Quantum Dot Light-Emitting Diodes.” Nano Lett. 14, 7017-7023 (2014).


  • Highlighted: “Materials: Diodes printed in three dimensions.” Nature 515, 468 (2014).
  • Highlighted: “Device fabrication: Three-dimensional printed electronics.” Nature 518, 42-43 (2015).