Additive Manufacturing of Nano- and Micro-Architected Materials

Researchers: Andrey Vyatskikh (Ph.D. student in Medical Engineering) and Daryl Yee (Ph.D. student in Materials Science)

Creating materials with a suite of designed properties is one of key challenges in our society. Solving this grand challenge will open pathways to create entirely new classes of materials, whose properties are determined a priori and attained through a multi-scale physically informed approach. These new material classes will offer breakthrough advances in almost every branch of manufacturing and technology: from ultra lightweight and damage-tolerant structural materials to safe and efficient energy storage, biomedical devices, biochemical and micromechanical sensors and actuators, nanophotonic devices, and textiles.

additive manufacturing

Nano-architected materials enable de-coupling properties that have historically been linked together, for example strength and density, thermal conductivity and modulus, which shifts the material creation paradigm to properties -> architecture -> fabrication. When the characteristic dimensions of solid constituents that comprise architected materials are reduced to the nano-scale, many new phenomena emerge. Nearly all materials exhibit different properties when reduced to nano-scale – for example, in terms of mechanical properties where smaller can be stronger or weaker, can suppress brittle failure and induce ductility, couple into light to create 3D photonic crystals and negative refraction materials, and activate phonon scattering-driven thermal processes.

additive manufacturing

We use novel chemical syntheses and two-photon lithography, as well as 3D printing, to create nano- and micro-architected materials, which represent a class of new "meta-materials" that can utilize the optimized nanometer-sized induced material properties, high surface area, and 3D architectures, to enable distinct departure from existing material systems. We focus on exploring the combination of hierarchical design and nanoscale dimensions of different materials classes – glasses, metals, polymers, semiconductors, shape-memory, photonic and piezoelectric materials, etc. - that enable de-coupling historically linked properties like strength and density through architectural control.