I-Corps: Surface Modification of Complex Structures by Self-Limiting Electrospray Deposition

Project Details


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the development of a self-limiting electrospray deposition manufacturing technology. Material coatings are ubiquitous, from bio-compatibilizers for implants, to anti-corrosion applications in aerospace. However, most techniques for micro and nanoscale manufacturing are not economically feasible. The proposed technology is designed to process nanoparticles and biomaterials and may implement these materials in devices and structures where they would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. The advent of widespread additive manufacturing (AM) has led to 3D printed parts that are more intricate and customizable than ever before. The proposed technology may be used to coat and upgrade these parts with a high level of automation. In addition, interest is growing in biomimetic materials as a new class of extraordinary materials, and the proposed technology represents a low-cost way to generate these structures. Also, the proposed technology may be used in medical applications that may expand the reach of advanced therapeutics and functional implants to a much wider range of patients.This I-Corps project is based on the development of a self-limiting electrospray deposition technology, which is a manufacturing technique that uses electrostatic forces to perform highly targeted conformal coatings. The proposed technology is designed to coat 3D objects in ambient conditions using a single stationary spray nozzle and a similar effect allows for targeting of micron-scale 2D conductive patterns on insulating substrates. The compatibility of the self-limiting electrospray deposition technology has been demonstrated with several industrially relevant materials including polymers, therapeutic molecules (e.g., immunomodulators, DNA vaccines, proteins), nanoparticles, and hermetic barriers. It is also highly compatible with additive manufacturing (AM) parts and small 2D and 3D features. While standard electrostatic sprays are ubiquitous in automotive and pharmaceutical manufacturing and can even achieve non-line-of-sight coatings, the proposed technology is designed to achieve true conformal coatings with uniformity on the micro and nanoscale. In addition, results achieved efficiencies approaching 100%, allowing for low waste processing of expensive materials. Collectively, these capabilities make the proposed technology ideal for implementing high-tech solutions across industries where they would otherwise be cost prohibitive.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date6/1/233/31/24


  • National Science Foundation: $50,000.00


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