Professor: Tobias Hanrath
Project Description: The overarching goal of the proposed project is to develop spearheading nanomanufacturing capabilities that enable the production of materials and devices with precisely programmed structure, composition, and function across six orders of magnitude in length scale! The vision driving the proposed research is that combined control over individual nanostructures (at atomistic length scales), programmable molecular assembly of micrometer superstructures and advanced manufacturing methods (spanning micrometer to meter) presents an exciting, unprecedented and immensely fertile opportunity space to create a new class of materials and devices. The innovative claim of the continuous additive nanomanufacturing at fluid interfaces (CANFI) process derives from the synergistic integration of recent advances in directed self-assembly and 3D printing to bridge the manufacturing length scale gap.
Additive manufacturing has quickly evolved to become a powerful and versatile fabrication technique with applications ranging from do-it-yourself 3D printing, to tissue engineering, to materials for energy and emerging printed electronics and many more. Despite this rapid progress, currently available 3D printing technologies have three significant shortcomings: (i) the spatial resolution, (ii) the speed and (iii) the range of material compositions that can be printed. The CANFI approach described in the proposed work presents potentially transformative advance towards nanomanufacturing capabilities with unprecedented resolution, speed and complexity of materials and devices that can be fabricated.
Students involved in this research project will focus on two key aspect: (i) ink development and (ii) process development. The research on ink development will combine recent advances in photoresponsive ligand on inorganic core (PLIC) materials designed to enable the small building blocks being printable and stackable, layer by layer into macroscopic superstructure. The research on CANFI printing process development presents an opportunity to integrate science and engineering to advance control over interfacial self assembly, stereolithographic pattern projection and layer-by-layer displacement to enable the fabrication of 3D printed structures.