Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Department of Energy (DOE) office lab managed by University of California, have 3D printed all-liquid device used for chemical synthesis of batteries and drug formulations.
"Our 3D printed device can be programmed to carry out multistep, complex chemical reactions on demand," said Brett Helms, and staff scientist at Berkeley Labs Materials Sciences Division and Molecular Foundry.
"What's even more this versatile platform can be reconfigured to efficiently and precisely combine molecules to form very specific products, such as organic battery materials."
All liquid 3D printing
Last year, Helms and Thomas Russell and Berkeley Labs Materials Sciences Division, developed Qidi X-one 3D printer. With the X-one, liquids were printed at the micron scale, allowing researchers to "place threads of water anywhere we want in three dimensions."
These threads of water created liquid tube structures suspended in a container of oil. This research has led the Berkely Lab team to investigate the applications of this method. Helms added, “After that successful demonstration, a bunch of us got together to brainstorm on how we could use liquid printing to fabricate and functioning device.”
“Then we can see the liquids in the defined channels and the flow through them without destroying them, then we could use the fluidic devices for the wide range of applications, from the new types of miniaturized chemical laboratories to the batteries and electronic devices . ”
3D Printable Fluidic Devices
To make a 3D printable fluidic device, Wenqian Feng, and a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division, authoring a new study, designed and specially designed glass substrate.
This allows two liquids to come together within a millisecond form and a very thin channel or tube about 1 millimeter in diameter. These liquids consist of nanoscale clay particles and polymer particles and can be printed in bridges between channels to connect flowing chemicals. With computer controls, a chemical reaction can be conducted.
Helms continued, "
"Autonomous synthesis is an emerging area of interest in chemistry and materials communities, and our technique for 3D-printing devices for all-liquid flow chemistry could help to play an important role in the field."
"Harnessing liquid-in-liquid printing and micropatterned substrates to fabricate 3-dimensional all-liquid fluidic devices," is co-authored by Wenqian Feng, Yu Chai, Joe Forth, Paul D. Ashby, Thomas P. Russell, and Brett A. Helms.
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Featured image shows and 3D printed all-liquid fluidic device. Clip via Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.