Functional Metal Coatings on Three-Dimensional Substrates

Monika Biener | 20-FS-021

Project Overview

Current, well-established metal coating techniques like electro- and electroless plating are optimized for planar two-dimension or low-aspect-ratio structures. Expanding these coating techniques to more complex aspect-ratio structures would greatly broaden the accessible materials design space. However, inhomogeneous coatings often are obtained because of potential gradients and diffusion limitations.

To improve the homogeneity and conformality of coatings on complex porous substrates, we explored the effect of pressure-driven mass transport, flowing the electrolyte/plating solution directly through the porous sample to be electro-/electroless coated. We observed that the flow-through approach can indeed improve the uniformity of the coatings compared to static coating conditions. This technique will directly benefit a broader range of energy applications, such as catalysis, batteries, and supercapacitors, as well as high-energy-density (HED) physics experiments. Specifically, the coating capability established in this project will enable chemical functionalization of additively manufactured three-dimension (3D) porous materials that provide topological functionality but are limited in their compositional complexity and functionality.

Mission Impact

This project directly supports Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's core competencies in HED science and advanced materials and manufacturing, as well as the Laboratory's mission focus area in energy security and climate resilience. Metal foam target components are used in capsules, double shells, hohlraum liners, and back lighters. Beyond HED target applications, metal-coated 3D-printed microlattice structures will find immediate applications in energy storage and conversion, catalysis, etc. Specifically, the copper coatings studied here can be used as catalyst for electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction. This project demonstrated the beneficial effects of flowing the plating through the porous structure to be plated on the plating uniformity, which is critical for both target applications and energy storage/conversion applications.