Review Article

Printing, folding and assembly methods for forming 3D mesostructures in advanced materials

  • Nature Reviews Materials 2, Article number: 17019 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/natrevmats.2017.19
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Abstract

A rapidly expanding area of research in materials science involves the development of routes to complex 3D structures with feature sizes in the mesoscopic range (that is, between tens of nanometres and hundreds of micrometres). A goal is to establish methods for controlling the properties of materials systems and the function of devices constructed with them, not only through chemistry and morphology, but also through 3D architectures. The resulting systems, sometimes referred to as metamaterials, offer engineered behaviours with optical, thermal, acoustic, mechanical and electronic properties that do not occur in the natural world. Impressive advances in 3D printing techniques represent some of the most broadly recognized developments in this field, but recent successes with strategies based on concepts in origami, kirigami and deterministic assembly provide additional, unique options in 3D design and high-performance materials. In this Review, we highlight the latest progress and trends in methods for fabricating 3D mesostructures, beginning with the development of advanced material inks for nozzle-based approaches to 3D printing and new schemes for 3D optical patterning. In subsequent sections, we summarize more recent methods based on folding, rolling and mechanical assembly, including their application with materials such as designer hydrogels, monocrystalline inorganic semiconductors and graphene.

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Acknowledgements

J.A.R. and X.L. acknowledge support from the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (DE FG02 07ER46471). Y.Z. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11672152) and Thousand Young Talents Program of China. Y.H. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (CMMI1534120 and CMMI1400169) and the National Institutes of Health (R01EB019337).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Center for Mechanics and Materials, AML, Department of Engineering Mechanics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.

    • Yihui Zhang
    • , Fan Zhang
    •  & Qiang Ma
  2. Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.

    • Zheng Yan
  3. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.

    • Xiuling Li
  4. Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.

    • Yonggang Huang
  5. Departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Neurological Surgery, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics; and Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.

    • John A. Rogers

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Yihui Zhang or John A. Rogers.