A Caltech Library Service

Additive Manufacturing of 3D Nano-Architected Metals and Ceramics


Vyatskikh, Andrey (2020) Additive Manufacturing of 3D Nano-Architected Metals and Ceramics. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/pdz2-dd59.


Additive manufacturing (AM) represents a set of manufacturing processes that create complex 3D parts out of polymers, metals, and ceramics. AM of metals and ceramics is widely used to produce parts for aerospace, automotive, and medical applications. At the micro- and nano-scales, AM is poised to become the enabling technology for efficient 3D microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), 3D micro-battery electrodes, 3D electrically small antennae, micro-optical components, and photonics. Today, the minimum feature size for most commercially available metal and ceramic AM is limited to ~20-50 μm. Currently, no established processes can reliably produce complex 3D metal and ceramic parts with sub-micron features.

In this thesis, we first demonstrate a nanoscale metal AM process that can produce ~300 nm features out of nanocrystalline, nanoporous nickel using synthesized hybrid organic-inorganic materials, two-photon lithography, and pyrolysis. We study microstructure and mechanical properties of as-fabricated nickel architectures and compare their structural strength to established AM processes. We then show how this process can be extended to other metals and metalloids, including Mg, Ge, Si, and Ti.

This study extends further into nanoscale AM of transparent, high refractive index materials for micro-optics and photonic crystals. We develop an AM process to 3D print fully dense nanocrystalline rutile titanium dioxide (TiO₂) with feature dimensions down to ~120 nm. We carefully study and model the relationship between feature dimensions and process parameters to achieve a <2% variation in critical dimensions. We then use this understanding of the process to fabricate and study 3D dielectric photonic crystals with a full photonic bandgap in the infrared.

Finally, a microscale AM process of titanium dioxide is demonstrated for photocatalytic water treatment. We show how synthesized hybrid organic-inorganic materials can be applied for stereolithography to print TiO₂ architectures with 100 μm features. We use the developed 3D printing process to investigate the effect of 3D architecture on the efficiency of photocatalytic water treatment.

This work establishes a versatile and efficient pathway to create three-dimensional nano-architected metals and ceramics and to investigate their properties for applications in 3D MEMS, micro-optics, photonics, and photocatalysis.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:additive manufacturing; architected materials; titanium dioxide; nickel; hybrid organic−inorganic material; two-photon lithography; high refractive index; photonic crystals; photocatalysis; water disinfection
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Medical Engineering
Awards:MRS Graduate Student Gold Award (2019). MRS Best Poster Award (2019). Caltech Art of Science Prize (2018). Top 50 Most Read Chemistry and Materials Science Articles in Nature Communications in 2018. Resnick Sustainability Institute Fellowship (2018-2020). Biotechnology Leadership Award in Micro/Nano Medicine (2018).
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Greer, Julia R.
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute, Rosen Bioengineering Center
Thesis Committee:
  • Shapiro, Mikhail G. (chair)
  • Faber, Katherine T.
  • Gao, Wei
  • Greer, Julia R.
Defense Date:6 May 2020
Non-Caltech Author Email:andreyv (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Resnick Sustainability Institute Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Rosen Center for Bioengineering at CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05252020-134146453
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for Chapter 2 and 3 adapted for Chapter 5 proceeding adapted for Chapter 4 adapted for Chapter 4 DocumentPatent related to Chapter 2 and 3
Vyatskikh, Andrey0000-0002-6917-6931
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13722
Deposited By: Andrey Vyatskikh
Deposited On:01 Jun 2020 21:58
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:27

Thesis Files

PDF (Full thesis) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] Video (MPEG) (Supplementary Video 1. In-situ SEM video (played at 40x speed) of uniaxial compression of a nickel octet nanolattice with ~2 μm unit cells and 300-400 nm-diameter beams to ~85% strain) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Video (QuickTime) (Supplementary Video 2. In-situ video (optical) of uniaxial compression of a titania/carbon cubic lattice with unit cell size of 0.66 ± 0.01 mm and beam diameters of 170 ± 5 μm) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page