In this issue of Manufacturing Ideas to Watch: Self-assembly of Functional Materials, Atomically-thin Integrated Circuitry, Electrochemical Additive Manufacturing, Solvent-Free Manufacturing of Electrodes for Lithium-ion Batteries, and Protein Lithography. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment!
Self-assembly of Functional Materials
Self-assembly of Functional Materials merges the nanomanufacturing method of block copolymer self-assembly with the utility and functionality of a wide range of materials, from metals to ceramics to semiconductors. This manufacturing method enables the creation of otherwise difficult or impossible to fabricate structures by using self-assembly methods to form templates from which the geometry of functional materials can be shaped. This enables new classes of functional materials, with potential applications in fuel cells, solar cells, batteries, membranes, optics, life science research, and others.
– Ulrich Wiesner, Cornell University
Atomically-thin Integrated Circuitry
2D (atomically-thin) materials such as graphene and MoS2 hold enormous promise for creating the next generation of electronics and sensors using atomically-thin integrated circuitry. Inspired by the analogy of these 2D materials to paper, novel manufacturing methods have been developed to obtain desired shapes and material integration. Delamination techniques allow the materials to be moved, patterned, and stacked, to form complex 3D interconnects. This technique opens the ability to improve the performance of existing electronics and create structures with novel electromagnetic behavior, with applications in solar panels and nano-sensors.
– Jiwoong Park, University of Chicago
Electrochemical Additive Manufacturing (ECAM)
Electrochemical Additive Manufacturing (ECAM) is a novel manufacturing method that is capable of producing complex shaped functional metal parts layer-by-layer directly from computer generated 3D CAD models. ECAM process has the potential to overcome several of the limitations of traditional AM techniques, such as material choice, anisotropy, porosity, strength, scalability, support structure, and internal stresses. ECAM uses electrochemical deposition, a nonthermal process that uses electrical current to deposit cations or anions onto a surface. The processes has considerably lower residual stresses, and the addition of material is atom by atom resulting in excellent microstructural properties which can be controlled in process. ECAM is capable of depositing conductive materials including metals, metal alloys, conducting polymers, and even some semiconductors.
– Murali Sundaram, University of Cincinnati (This work is funded by the National Science Foundation.)
Solvent-Free Manufacturing of Electrodes for Lithium-ion Batteries
Lithium ion battery electrodes can be manufactured using a new, completely dry powder painting process. Unlike slurry-cast electrode manufacturing, solvent is not needed. Instead, the electrode goes through a hot rolling process, significantly decreasing thermal activation time. Removing the solvent and drying process allows large-scale Li-ion battery production to be more economically viable in markets such as automotive energy storage systems.
– Heng Pan, Missouri University of Science & Technology
Protein Lithography extends traditional lithography used in semiconductor manufacturing to the patterning of protein-based materials. This enables the creation of biopolymers with precise geometries as small as a few microns. Using proteins derived from silk, this fabrication technique opens up applications inaccessible to synthetic polymers. The use of benign solvents further enables applications that require biocompatibility. Protein lithography may prove beneficial in self-assembly, biosensing, therapeutic delivery and optical applications.
– Vamsi Yadavalli, Virginia Commonwealth University
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