Using Light As A New Additive Manufacturing Technique

Using Light As A New Additive Manufacturing Technique

By Shinji Tutoru

LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY, CALIFORNIA, USA. The oldest and most used method of coating material by depositing particles of numerous substances onto the surfaces of various manufactured items is popularly known as the electrophoretic deposition (EPD). A new method has been developed and it is called light-directed electrophoretic deposition. It utilizes DC electrical fields and photoconductive electrodes that vigorously pattern the material’s surface. This new technique allows the creation of erratic patterned 3D multimaterial composite over wide areas with refined resolution.

Andrew Pascall, the lead author and the researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory looked for ways that will solve the current limitation of electrophoretic deposition (EPD). This traditional method can only deposit materials across the entire surface. It cannot deposit materials in very specific or predetermined/target locations.

The team was able to produce an alumina ceramic-tungsten nanoparticle composite with the use of a light-directed EPD. So primarily, the tungsten nanoparticles were deposited across the photoconductive surface. A laser cut aluminum mask then illuminated the nanoparticles. A completely distinct shaped mask was replaced along with the new material to deposit the ceramic material. A digitally projected mask that looked like those in DLP televisions will soon replace the aluminum masks in the future.

The grand potential of elevating traditional electrophoretic deposition (EPD) from a single layer and a single material coating process to a genuine additive manufacturing technique that allows for prominent composites to be materialized can now be attained through Light-directed electrophoretic deposition.

It’s now possible to accurately create what seemed to be impossible like in the case within cellular materials for the creation of blood vessels for body organs that are manufactured. This is a major leap in the advancement of electrophoretic deposition as a technique of manufacturing intricate 3D patterned composites.

Invention Using Light As A New Additive Manufacturing Technique
Organization Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Researcher Andrew Pascall & Team
Field(s) Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
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