Berkeley Lab researchers set the stage for new class of 3D-printed, all-liquid devices; could automate chemical synthesis for batteries and drug formulations
Researchers at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have 3D-printed an all-liquid device that, with the click of a button, can be repeatedly reconfigured on demand to serve a wide range of applications – from making battery materials to screening drug candidates.
“What we demonstrated is remarkable. Our 3D-printed device can be programmed to carry out multistep, complex chemical reactions on demand,” said Brett Helms, a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and Molecular Foundry, who led the study. “What’s even more amazing is that this versatile platform can be reconfigured to efficiently and precisely combine molecules to form very specific products, such as organic battery materials.”
The study’s findings, which were reported in the journal Nature Communications, is the latest in a series of experiments at Berkeley Lab that fabricate all-liquid materials with a 3D printer.
Last year, a study co-authored by Helms and Thomas Russell, a visiting researcher from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who leads the Adaptive Interfacial Assemblies Toward Structured Liquids Program in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, pioneered a new technique for printing various liquid structures – from droplets to swirling threads of liquid – within another liquid.
“After that successful demonstration, a bunch of us got together to brainstorm on how we could use liquid printing to fabricate a functioning device,” said Helms. “Then it occurred to us: If we can print liquids in defined channels and flow contents through them without destroying them, then we could make useful fluidic devices for a wide range of applications, from new types of miniaturized chemical laboratories to even batteries and electronic devices.”
To make the 3D-printable fluidic device, lead author Wenqian Feng, a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, designed a specially patterned glass substrate. When two liquids – one containing nanoscale clay particles, another containing polymer particles – are printed onto the substrate, they come together at the interface of the two liquids and within milliseconds form a very thin channel or tube about 1 millimeter in diameter.
Once the channels are formed, catalysts can be placed in different channels of the device. The user can then 3D-print bridges between channels, connecting them so that a chemical flowing through them encounters catalysts in a specific order, setting off a cascade of chemical reactions to make specific chemical compounds. And when controlled by a computer, this complex process can be automated “to execute tasks associated with catalyst placement, build liquid bridges within the device, and run reaction sequences needed to make molecules,” said Russell.
The multitasking device can also be programmed to function like an artificial circulatory system that separates molecules flowing through the channel and automatically removes unwanted byproducts while it continues to print a sequence of bridges to specific catalysts, and carry out the steps of chemical synthesis.
“The form and functions of these devices are only limited by the imagination of the researcher,” explained Helms. “Autonomous synthesis is an emerging area of interest in the chemistry and materials communities, and our technique for 3D-printing devices for all-liquid flow chemistry could help to play an important role in establishing the field.”
Added Russell: “The combination of materials science and chemistry expertise at Berkeley Lab, along with world-class user facilities available to researchers from all over the world, and the young talent that is drawn to the Lab is unique. We couldn’t have developed this program anywhere else.”
The researchers next plan to electrify the walls of the device using conductive nanoparticles to expand the types of reactions that can be explored. “With our technique, we think it should also be possible to create all-liquid circuitry, fuel cells, and even batteries,” said Helms. “It’s been really exciting for our team to combine fluidics and flow chemistry in a way that is both user-friendly and user-programmable.”
Learn more: Scientists 3D-Print All-Liquid ‘Lab on a Chip’
The Latest on: 3D-printed all-liquid devices
via Google News
The Latest on: 3D-printed all-liquid devices
- New laws of attraction: Scientists print magnetic liquid dropletson July 18, 2019 at 12:47 pm
The new material could lead to a revolutionary class of printable liquid devices for a variety of ... a new class of materials -- 3D-printable all-liquid structures. One day, Russell and the ...
- New Laws of Attraction: Scientists Print Magnetic Liquid Dropletson July 18, 2019 at 11:09 am
Inventors of centuries past and scientists of today have found ingenious ways to make our lives better with magnets – from the magnetic needle on a compass to magnetic data storage devices and ...
- New 3D-printed technology lowers cost of common medical teston May 22, 2019 at 11:11 am
The 3D-printed pipette-tip test developed by the researchers leverages what "has long been the gold standard for measuring proteins, pathogens, antibodies and other biomolecules in complex matrices," ...
- 3D-printed an All-liquid Lab on a Chip Can Be Infinitely Reconfigured on Demandon May 1, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Brian Wang is a prolific business-oriented writer of emerging and disruptive technologies. He is known for insightful articles that combine business and technical analysis that catches the attention ...
- Liquid printing a reality! Scientists 3D-print all-liquid device for wide range of applicationson April 29, 2019 at 3:42 am
Scientists have 3D-printed an all-liquid device that can be repeatedly reconfigured to serve a wide range of applications — from making battery materials to screening drug candidates.
- Bridge over Coupled Waters: Scientists 3D-Print All-Liquid ‘Lab on a Chip’on April 26, 2019 at 3:20 pm
Researchers at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have 3D-printed an all-liquid device that, with the click of a button, can be repeatedly reconfigured on demand to serve a ...
- Bridge over coupled waters: Scientists 3D-print all-liquid 'lab on a chip'on April 25, 2019 at 12:46 pm
Researchers at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have 3D-printed an all-liquid device that, with the click of a button, can be repeatedly reconfigured on demand to serve a ...
- 3D-Printed Device (image)on April 25, 2019 at 12:23 pm
To make the 3D-printable fluidic device, Berkeley Lab researchers designed a specially patterned glass substrate. When two liquids - one containing nanoscale clay particles, another containing ...
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Researchers Use Liquid-in-Liquid Printing to Create 3D Fluidic Deviceson March 14, 2019 at 12:37 pm
Their findings are discussed in a recently published paper, ‘Harnessing liquid-in-liquid printing and micropatterned substrates to fabricate 3-dimensional all-liquid fluidic devices,’ authored ...
- UTA engineer earns NSF CAREER grant to develop bioinspired, shape-morphing 3D materialson February 15, 2019 at 2:20 pm
The research could transform the way soft engineering systems or devices are designed and fabricated, with potential applications in bioinspired soft robotics, biomedical devices, tissue ...
via Bing News