Localized Pulsed Electrodeposition Process for Three-Dimensional Printing of Nanotwinned Metallic Nanostructures

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NANO Letters






Nanotwinned-metals (nt-metals) offer superior mechanical (high ductility and strength) and electrical (low electromigration) properties compared to their nanocrystalline (nc) counterparts. These properties are advantageous in particular for applications in nanoscale devices. However, fabrication of nt-metals has been limited to films (two-dimensional) or template-based (one-dimensional) geometries, using various chemical and physical processes. In this Letter, we demonstrate the ambient environment localized pulsed electrodeposition process for direct printing of three-dimensional (3D) freestanding nanotwinned-Copper (nt-Cu) nanostructures. 3D nt-Cu structures were additively manufactured using pulsed electrodeposition at the tip of an electrolyte-containing nozzle. Focused ion beam (FIB) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis revealed that the printed metal was fully dense, and was mostly devoid of impurities and microstructural defects. FIB and TEM images also revealed nanocrystalline-nanotwinned-microstructure (nc-nt-microstructure), and confirmed the formation of coherent twin boundaries in the 3D-printed Cu. Mechanical properties of the 3D-printed nc-nt-Cu were characterized by direct printing (FIB-less) of micropillars for in situ SEM microcompression experiments. The 3D-printed nc-nt-Cu exhibited a flow stress of over 960 MPa, among the highest ever reported, which is remarkable for a 3D-printed material. The microstructure and mechanical properties of the nc-nt-Cu were compared to those of nc-Cu printed using the same process under direct current (DC) voltage.