Research

Pushing boundaries

Photocentric’s focus of research activity is the application of our novel visible light photopolymers used in collaboration with our patented LCD based 3D printers, in the creation of 3D printed batteries.

Our goal is to manufacture ourselves, or to enable others to make, innovative products for applications that deliver scale, function and cost effectiveness and where the benefits of 3D printing are transformative.

Research and Development Facility

Investing in the future

We are building a state-of-the-art R&D facility where we will take the next steps to develop alternative energy sources, by continuing our ground-breaking 3D battery technology research.

Vision of 3D Printed Batteries

Solving A Global Problem

Photocentric is now focussing their research team on the issue of improving energy storage
– one of the most important issues to face the Earth today.

LCD Printer Research

We are harnessing the incredible advances in LCD screen technology to power the latest generation of our printers. To ensure their optimum performance we specify the design and construction of our display panels. We have commercialised monochrome screens and created and optimised our own light engines. Our engineering team are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible. As inventors of LCD 3D printing we are driven to continually improve the accuracy and speed of our printers in this most disruptive of technology sectors.

Polymer Research

Photocentric has an exceptional team of organic chemists working at the cutting-edge development of photopolymers. We work on photopolymerization right across the spectrum, commercializing grades from 350nm (UVA) up to 460nm (visible light). We are converting photons into electrons to ring open cations or break double bonds, turning liquids into solids to deliver durable functional plastics in a scale previously unheard of. Our material range covers all possible properties, delivering minimal shrinkage resins.

Metals

The ability to create usable metal from slurry is incredibly disruptive. Enabling metal parts to be formed for prototyping through to mass production without machining or casting enables new designs to be used, reduces cost and provides new possible geometries. Using a patent applied for process using LCD screens and visible light we have successfully printed both Nickel 718 and 17-4 PH stainless steel. This allows us to achieve both fine resolution (feature sizes of below 50 µm) and large area. We have developed a specific printer to create these metal parts. Parts are subsequently debound and sintered to deliver >97% dense parts.

Ceramics

We started on the journey of making ceramics in 2018 by printing a slurry of ceramic loaded particles and curing it with visible light through LCD screens. Today, we have moved through three generations of machines to end up with a truly scalable method of making dense ceramics at very high resolution. After printing the parts are debound and sintered. We have now printed hydroxyapatite, zirconia, silicon carbide and silica, but we have performed beta testing with alumina. We are excited to be co-developing the mass manufacture of ceramics with the MTC, who have the first of our new printers Ceramet 1, with a build volume of 12.2 x 6.8 x 7.8″.

Research Collaborations

We have an open policy towards research with any organization that widens the technology for all participants. Research with Universities is critical to the development of the science surrounding both UV and visible light polymerization from LCD screens in 3D printing. We are currently in partnership with over 20 universities and we welcome discussing any research projects.

Research Grants

Horizon 2020

This is a collaborative European project led by IIT (with HUJI, UniGe and us as partners) on the development of artificial soft robotics. The aim is to develop a soft robot actuator that mimics the elephant trunk (Proboscis) and its function.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 863212

Technology Developer Accelerator Programme

Fabrication of customised batteries with improved architecture created by LCD based visible light 3D printing.

Faraday Challenge: 3D Printing of Solid State Batteries with Controlled Geometry

Collaborative project between Photocentric (lead), the Centre For Process Innovation Limited and Johnson Matthey to fabricate solid state battery parts, as well as an entire cell using visible light and LCD screens.

A collaborative partnership with TWI, Addionics and The University of Leicester to manufacture 3D printed batteries in a novel multi-material process.

Intellectual Property

We have a number of granted patents covering our methods of 3D printing using LCD screens and many more pending. For more information click here.