Developing an Understanding and Control of Electrochemical Deposition Processes for Functional Coatings on Complex Three-Dimensionally Printed Substrates

Nikola Dudukovic | 20-ERD-056

Project Overview

The emergence of high-resolution polymer-based 3D printing methods has enabled the production of previously unachievable geometries with micro-scale precision. To fully realize their potential in electrochemical reactors (batteries, electrolyzers), antennas, microelectronics, etc., these structures can be metallized to provide the necessary functionalities, such as electrical conductivity and catalytic activity. Often considered "more art than science", deposition processes lack comprehensive guidelines and frequently rely on trial-and-error. This project focused on developing science- and engineering-based approaches to electrochemical deposition of metallic coatings onto complex polymer and carbon substrates. Using systematic experiments and continuum-level modeling, we establish process design guidelines for: (1) polymer treatment for electroless deposition, (2) electrodeposition of copper and nickel on carbon substrates, and (3) novel chemistries for electrochemical atomic layer deposition (e-ALD) of gold. This project leverages LLNL's Core Competencies in Additive Manufacturing (AM) and High Performance Computing (HPC), to deliver a methodology ‘toolbox' enabling advanced design and fabrication for mission-relevant applications in the energy sector. 

Mission Impact

This project enhances the fundamental understanding of deposition processes via computational and experimental approaches. Complex 3D-printed architectures can be metallized to produce conductive/catalytic/mechanical components that address DOE's energy and environmental security missions through key Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) programs (Global Security/Carbon Initiative). The project also develops new design and manufacturing approaches that can be expanded further to meet future national security challenges. 

Publications, Presentations, and Patents

Yukun Gong et al., "Methods—Design Guidelines for Tubular Flow-through Electrodes for Use in Electroanalytical Studies of Redox Reaction Kinetics," Journal of The Electrochemical Society 168, no. 4 (April 2021): 043505,

Auston L. Clemens et al., "Predictive Modeling of Electrodeposition in a Single Pore Flow-Through Electrode: From Electronucleation to Coating Thickness Uniformity," Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 170, no. 1 (January 2023) 012502,

Ruwani N. Wasalathanthri et al., "Adsorption Processes during Electrochemical Atomic Layer Deposition of Gold," Journal of The Electrochemical Society 168, no. 11 (November 2021): 112505,

Ruwani N. Wasalathanthri et al., "Adsorption-Mediated Electrochemical Atomic Layer Deposition of Gold." In ECS Meeting Abstracts, no. 23, p. 1181. IOP Publishing, 2022.

Megan E. Ellis et al., "Electroless Deposition on 3D-Printed Acrylate Polymers: Toward Establishing Design Guidelines." In 240th ECS Meeting (October 10-14, 2021). ECS, 2021.

Auston L. Clemens et al., "Uniform Electrodeposition Under Flow in a Single Pore Flow-through Electrode." In 240th ECS Meeting (October 10-14, 2021). ECS, 2021.

Megan Elizabeth Ellis et al., "Metallizing Complex 3D-Printed Polymers with Electroless Deposition: The Design Rule Toolbox of Pretreatment Steps" (Presentation, Materials Research Society Fall Meeting, Boston MA and virtual, Dec 2021).

Nikola A. Dudukovic et al., "Tuning Multiphase Interfaces in 3D Using Architected Porous Media" (Presentation, Additive International, Nottingham, England, UK, July 13, 2022).

Auston L. Clemens et al., "Electrodeposition of Metals onto 3D-Printed Lattices" (Presentation, Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin, TX, July 2022).

Nikola A. Dudukovic et al., "Architected Materials for Energy and Climate." (Presentation, nTopology Seminar, New York, NY, November 2022).

Nikola A. Dudukovic et al., "System and method for direct electroless plating of 3d-printing glass for selective surface patterning." (IL-13672).