Researchers at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have 3D-printed an all-liquid device that, with the click of a button, can be repeatedly reconfigured on demand to serve a wide range of applications — from making battery materials to screening drug candidates.

“What we demonstrated is remarkable. Our 3D-printed device can be programmed to carry out multistep, complex chemical reactions on demand,” said Brett Helms, a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and Molecular Foundry, who led the study. “What’s even more amazing is that this versatile platform can be reconfigured to efficiently and precisely combine molecules to form very specific products, such as organic battery materials.”

The study’s findings, which were reported in the journal Nature Communications, is the latest in a series of experiments at Berkeley Lab that fabricate all-liquid materials with a 3D printer.

Last year, a study co-authored by Helms and Thomas Russell, a visiting researcher from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who leads the Adaptive Interfacial Assemblies Toward Structured Liquids Program in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, pioneered a new technique for printing various liquid structures — from droplets to swirling threads of liquid — within another liquid.

Read more at DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory