PHOTOBIOFORM II

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science

Abstract

Selective formation of metallic nanoparticles in plastics has a wide range of uses for generating conductive tracks, creating antimicrobial surfaces and for the fabrication of sensors and actuators which has a broad spectrum of applications such as microsystems, printed electronics and wearable devices.

Photobioform II aims to develop bio-inspired, industrially relevant manufacturing processes that can selectively pattern metals onto non-conductive substrates using light-harvesting complexes to accelerate the reduction of metal ions embedded into these substrates. The key challenges addressed in this project cover the fields of material science and manufacturing.

The material science challenges include (1) the vast range of materials which can be processed using this method where each material requires different treatment techniques or operational parameters, (2) the need for a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the photosynthesis within the light harvesting complexes, (3) the determination of the optimal material formulation for this reduction processes and (4) the understanding of the interdependent factors (wavelength, intensity, etc) acting in this multi-dimensional design space to target the for optimum metallisation process.

The manufacturing challenges cover (1) the interplay between processes and manufacturing techniques (and equipment) to deliver these processes (2) the novel spray coating process using aerosol jetting and (3) the industrial need for high speed, high resolution and low cost photo-patterning techniques. Particular high impact applications of prosthetics and encoders will be used to demonstrate the manufacturing capabilities developed during this research.

Planned Impact

This research is expected to generate significant commercial, technological and scientific impact for high value manufacturing industries. 'Green synthesis' methods which can selective metallise a range of planar, flexible or 3D plastic parts with metal nanoparticles have the potential to enable low cost, sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes for the production of metal tracks, antimicrobial surfaces, and electrochemical sensors and actuators, which can benefit a range of industrial applications.

Beyond the academic community, the beneficiaries of this research are:
- UK industry will benefit from this multi-disciplinary research through increased scientific knowledge in material science and high value manufacturing creating new applications areas and business models.
- The industrial partners will not only directly gain from the research developed in this project but also from the new relationships formed between the academic institutions and industrial partners which will continue well after the project has completed.
- Prosthetic providers will directly benefit from the new novel manufacturing developments allowing them to increase functionality and enable patient specific customisation.
- Patients. Approximately 5,000 to 6,000 limb amputations occur in the UK every year and globally an estimated 1 million annual limb amputations per annum occur. Individuals with missing limbs will benefit from the developments made in this field through the developments of improvement methods of manufacturing prosthetics producing bespoke solutions enabling the patient to achieve a better quality of life and improved rehabilitation times.
- Antimicrobial materials. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 801,000 children younger than 5 years of age perish from diarrhoea each year. Large impact in terms of better water sanitation for developed and developing countries is expected as a result of this work. In addition, antimicrobial coatings can be cheaply applied to a range of 3D surfaces, such as pipes, enabling major benefits for eliminating harmful microorganisms without the need for strong disinfectants or costly materials.
- UK skills base will directly benefit as a result of the training and development of the two skilled PDRAs and two PhDs qualified in areas of manufacturing technologies and material science.
- The public and Society - The process enables the UK to secure manufacturing against the increasing scarcity and increased costs of raw materials, energy and other resources through the reduction of process steps and material wastage, utilisation of natural products, benefiting the overall economy and environment. This new process will allow companies to reduce their manufacturing costs, increase their public image as "green companies" and increase their market share.

Publications

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Desmulliez M (2016) Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems

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Ryspayeva A (2019) Selective Electroless Copper Deposition by Using Photolithographic Polymer/Ag Nanocomposite in IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices

 
Description Manufacturing processes was found to be compatible with 3D printing for the printing of multi-material devices.

Novel application of manufacturing process for detection of quality of food (nano-sensors)

Systematic characterisation of process using different types of metals.
Exploitation Route Once properly protected, these findings could be of use to 3D printing equipment manufacturers and producers of materials for the 3D printing industries.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description It was demonstrated that existing pieces of equipment used by companies can be processed in order to reduce costs of manufacturing.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Electronics,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Direct laser writing of circuitry on injected-moulded samples
Amount £39,397 (GBP)
Funding ID 1274 B19R13394 
Organisation Renishaw PLC 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2020 
End 07/2020
 
Description Academic partner - Leeds University 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We process the materials science and contributed to all academic research articles
Collaborator Contribution Colleagues at Leeds University provided the translation of the material process into fully functional additive manufacturing equipment.
Impact Many research papers have been published through this fruitful academic collaboration
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with Renishaw, industrial partner in the project 
Organisation Renishaw PLC
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We provided the means to write complex metal tracks onto contoured plastic surfaces.
Collaborator Contribution Renishaw provided elements of their system on which to try our novel deposition process
Impact Demonstration of potential to write metal tracks onto same type of substrate as elements of the Renishaw system
Start Year 2017
 
Description Edinburgh International Science Festival - Stand at Oriam 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The event lasted all the day long. A Stand about 3D printing was presented at the Oriam event (14th April 2018) for all ages.
Four people run the stand. The larger event (about 15 stands) had 5,200 attendants.
Activity aimed to promote 3D printing. Demonstrations were done, with hands-on activities for children.
The volunteers engaged with many children and parents questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Midlothian Science Festival - Workshop at IKEA, Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 250 attendants to the event, from all kind of public (18th Oct 2017).
Demonstration of 3D printing with recycled plastics. Activity aimed to promote STEM, in particular, Electrical and Material Engineering, based on research topics from EPS-ISSS
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Oral presentation at the 18th International Conference on Nanotechnology 23-26 July 2018, Cork, Ireland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Major international conference of the IEEE. Presentation led to a Conference Proceeding Articles still to be made available on the IEEE website as on 23rd February 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster presentation at the 44th Conference on Micro Nano engineering 2018, 26-27 September 2018, Copenhagen 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A conference proceedings article was the outcome of this talk/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar at Heriot-Watt University on optical gas Nano-Sensor 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The seminar was meant to present and explain to other postdoctoral students and members of staff the research activities carried out by PhD students and Postdoctoral students within the Institute of Signals, Sensors and Systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018