Additive Manufacturing of 3D Nano-architected Metals and Ceramics

Andrey Vyatskikh
Date: May 6, 2020, 2:30pm
Location: Online

Andrey Vyatskikh Additive manufacturing (AM) represents a set of manufacturing processes that create complex 3D parts out of polymers, metals, and ceramics. AM of metals and ceramics is widely used to produce parts for aerospace, automotive, and medical applications. At the micro- and nano-scales, AM is poised to become the enabling technology for efficient 3D microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), 3D micro-battery electrodes, 3D electrically small antennae, micro-optical components, and photonics. Today, the minimum feature size for most commercially available metal and ceramic AM is limited to ~20-50 μm. Currently, no established processes can reliably produce complex 3D metal and ceramic parts with sub-micron features.

In this thesis, we first demonstrate a nanoscale metal AM process that can produce ~300 nm features out of nanocrystalline, nanoporous nickel using synthesized hybrid organic-inorganic materials, two-photon lithography, and pyrolysis. We study microstructure and mechanical properties of as-fabricated nickel architectures and compare their structural strength to established AM processes. We then show how this process can be extended to other metals and metalloids, including Mg, Ge, Si, and Ti.

This study extends further into nanoscale AM of transparent, high refractive index materials for micro-optics and photonic crystals. We develop an AM process to 3D print fully dense nanocrystalline rutile titanium dioxide (TiO2) with feature dimensions down to ~120 nm. We carefully study and model the relationship between feature dimensions and process parameters to achieve a <2% variation in critical dimensions. We then use this understanding of the process to fabricate and study 3D dielectric photonic crystals with a full photonic bandgap in the infrared.

Finally, a microscale AM process of titanium dioxide is demonstrated for photocatalytic water treatment. We show how synthesized hybrid organic-inorganic materials can be applied for stereolithography to print TiO2 architectures with 100 μm features. We use the developed 3D printing process to investigate the effect of 3D architecture on the efficiency of photocatalytic water treatment.

This work establishes a versatile and efficient pathway to create three-dimensional nano-architected metals and ceramics and to investigate their properties for applications in 3D MEMS, micro-optics, photonics, and photocatalysis.