Architected battery materials

Lawrence Livermore researchers are developing new battery fabrication capabilities based on 3D printing techniques.

Advanced designs using additive manufacturing and porous ink

Combining 3D printing with an alloying and dealloying process, researchers at LLNL and Harvard University were able to engineer nanoporous gold into microarchitectured hierarchical structures, a development that revolutionized the design of chemical reactors. Credit: Ryan Chen/LLNL

High energy and power density batteries are in high demand for electric vehicles and portable electric devices. Advanced battery component designs are important for improving mass transport and mechanical properties, and porous structure control is an important element of these designs.

Additive manufacturing (3D printing) techniques based on computer-aided designs can deposit materials line by line—or layer by layer—to precisely control the porous structure. We use projection microstereolithography (PuSL) and two-photon polymerization based direct laser writing (TPP-DLW) to tune scaffold printing from macroscale to submicroscale. We convert the polymer template into conductive nickel and carbon current collectors, which serve as battery electrode scaffolds. We are exploring ways to integrate electrode materials using electroless and electrodeposition techniques.

We have combined these 3D printing techniques with porous ink recipes to create hierarchical porous electrodes from graphene and nanoporous gold. The multi-material printing and 3D integration provide a new point of view for previous interface and compatibility problems, and successful development of the technology will potentially enhance the performance of all battery components, including anode, separator, cathode, and packaging cases.

Solid-state electrolytes

Solid-state electrolyte separators made of pure ceramics tend to be brittle, especially when they are ultra-thin and porous. To address this issue, we are applying 3D printing techniques to make 3D structures with self-supportive mechanical properties. These architectures can also enhance the contact between electrolyte and electrode, improving mechanical integrity and reducing interfacial impedance.

Facilities and capabilities

Our researchers use the following facilities and capabilities:

  • Ball milling
  • Hyrel EHR 3D printer
  • Sintering
  • Electrochemical and battery testing
  • Nanoindentation with express test, and temperature and environmental controls


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Jianchao Ye

PI for structural, electrochemical, and mechanical characterizations

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Siwei Liang

Hierarchical porous polymer printing, solid polymer electrolyte printing

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Marissa Wood

Ink development, characterization, battery assembly, and testing