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Liquid–Solid Mixtures of Ga Metal Infused with Cu Microparticles and Nanoparticles for Microscale and Nanoscale Patterning ...

Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS Applied Nano Materials
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 7

This paper demonstrates and characterizes a simple ink for nanopatterning of solid metallic structures under ambient conditions by taking advantage of the low melting point of gallium and its affinity to form intermetallics with other metals. Bare copper micro- and nanoparticles readily mix with liquid gallium near room temperature to form a paste that ultimately amalgamates into a dense solid when mixed at the appropriate concentration ratios. The paste has sufficient shelf life that can be extruded from a nozzle at modest temperatures to form solid three-dimensional (3D) shapes. Additionally, the paste can be molded at room temperature to replicate feature sizes ranging from a few millimeters down to hundreds of nanometers. In situ X-ray diffraction (XRD) and thermo-mechanical analysis (TMA) data show gallium and copper readily interdiffuse to form the thermodynamically expected intermetallic phase. We describe the capabilities and limitations of a simple way to pattern solid metals in an additive fashion (syringe-based extrusion) and with high resolution (molding) at or near room temperature. The use of a paste that solidifies provides a novel route for 3D printing of solid metals at ambient temperatures as well as the creation of micro- and nanostructured metallic surfaces that may be useful for optics, non-wetting surfaces, or electronic microcomponents.