Breakthrough in Room Temperature 3D Microprinting of Nickel by Exaddon and EMPA
New Research Published in Additive Manufacturing (Elsevier)
2 July, 2024 by
Breakthrough in Room Temperature 3D Microprinting of Nickel by Exaddon and EMPA
Edward White

Exaddon and EMPA's latest breakthrough research showcases the CERES system's ability to 3D print nickel at microscale sizes at room temperature.

Published in the well-respected Additive Manufacturing journal, the open-source paper is a very promising step forward in the direct printing of nickel.

Direct electrochemical deposition (EC) printing of high-strength materials like nickel has previously proven challenging due to the complexities of the electrochemistry involved. However, this collaborative effort successfully navigated these challenges, producing stable, high-quality 3D printed nickel structures. Microstructural analysis confirmed the excellent results. 

Why Nickel?

Exaddon has excelled in 3D printing metals such as copper (Cu) and gold (Au), known for their exceptional thermal and electrical conductivity, making them ideal for microelectronics applications. However, these metals have low mechanical strength, and for some use cases, direct printing of stronger structures are required. 

Nickel (Ni) offers the strength demanded by certain MEMS applications. Moreover, nickel is a ferromagnet, unlike Cu and Au, paving the way for innovative magnetic devices through 3D microprinting.

Unprecedented Printing Speed with New Inks

The study set a new benchmark for the EC printing speed of nickel at 61 nm/s, thanks to a newly developed Ni ink and electrolyte. Compression tests on micropillars revealed a yield strength on par with conventional 2D electrodeposition methods. 

Pioneering Pathways in Nickel Microprinting

This research marks a significant advancement in the direct printing of nickel, demonstrating that Exaddon’s EC printing method can achieve material quality comparable to traditional techniques. 

In the authors’ own words, "This study opens up a pathway towards printing complex and mechanically resilient structures using a direct electrodeposition process for diverse applications such as MEMS sensors and actuators or magnetic devices.”

The Innosuisse-backed project was conducted with the EMPA Laboratory for Mechanics of Materials and Nanostructures

The open-source paper, published in Additive Manufacturing (Elsevier), can be viewed online at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2024.104251  

Breakthrough in Room Temperature 3D Microprinting of Nickel by Exaddon and EMPA
Edward White 2 July, 2024
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