Photo of Professor Kate Black

Professor Kate Black

Senior Lecturer in Additive Manufacturing Mechanical, Materials & Aerospace Eng

Research

Printing of Functional Materials

My groups main research targets the development of novel functional materials, using inkjet printing, for the manufacture of electronic and optoelectronic devices. Inkjet printing is a non-contact, low-cost, high-speed, additive, and eco-friendly technique. At the present time, ink formulations are predominantly based on nanoparticle (NP) solutions, or dispersants which have associated processing and performance drawbacks, such as high processing temperatures and the need for subsequent sintering steps. My group is tackling these issues by taking the highly novel route of using particle-free reactive organometallic (ROM) inks. This class of new ROM inks represents the ‘cutting edge’ and signifies a step-change in the nanoscale control of microstructure in printed dielectrics, conductors and semiconductors. Our research exploits the organometallic precursor chemistry developed at Liverpool, for chemical vapour and atomic layer deposition, in the context of inkjet injection. We are currently exploiting this approach to deposit metal interconnects for PV cells, at low temperatures and without subsequent sintering steps. Using this approach, the MO route can be tailored to ensure the deposition of both new materials and combinations of functional materials, for a wide variety of applications such as; transparent conducting oxides, PV absorber layers, batteries, sensors and super capacitors, amongst many others. Our main drive is to broaden the palette of materials which can be processed by inkjet printing by employing colloids, sol-gels, hydrogels and Reactive Organometallic (ROM) based inks. These novel inks can be employed in planar and 3D printing to produce functional materials with specfically targeted compositions, structures, and properties.

Inkjet printing for Tissue Engineering

We are exploring the potential of employing inkjet printing, as a tool for developing a high-throughput material fabrication technique. Thereby producing totally synthetically modified substrates with optimised dynamic surface chemistries, for the control of biological responses. This will eliminate modifying substrates with peptides or proteins as well as obviating the need for supplementing the growth environment with growth factors and cytokines. Inkjet printing offers advantages over existing patterning techniques by enabling an automated, high-throughput process, with precise control and repeatability.

Research Grants

Integrated anode-less PEM fuel cells (iaPEM-FC) - beyond hydrogen

ENGINEERING & PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC)

January 2016 - December 2018

Novel Printing Solutions for Tackling Fraud in Minted Currencies

ROYAL MINT (UK)

September 2017 - December 2020

Towards Additive Manufacturing Process Control using Semi-Supervised Learning

ENGINEERING & PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC)

June 2017 - April 2018

Novel Printing Solutions for Tackling Fraud in Minted Currencies

ROYAL MINT (UK)

October 2017 - September 2021

Reactive Metal Jet Fusion Printing

ENGINEERING & PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC), UK RESEARCH AND INNOVATION (UKRI) (UK)

July 2017 - September 2021

3-D printed peptide gel for synthetic corneal replacement

ENGINEERING & PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC)

March 2016 - November 2016

Towards Sinter-free Printing of Photovoltaic Cell Interconnects.

ENGINEERING & PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC)

October 2012 - September 2015

Research Collaborations

Dr Jude Curran and Professor John Hunt

Project: High throughput screening arrays to evaluate the potential of inkjet printing for enhanced biological applications.
Internal

To date cell pattern processes have been labour intensive and time consuming. This project aims to address this issue, by exploring the potential of employing inkjet printing, as a tool for developing a high-throughput material fabrication technique. Thereby producing totally synthetically modified substrates with optimised dynamic surface chemistries, for the control of biological responses. This will eliminate the modifying substrates with peptides or proteins as well as obviating the need for supplementing the growth environment with growth factors and cytokines. Inkjet printing offers advantages over existing patterning techniques by enabling an automated, high-throughput process, with precise control and repeatability.

Alphasense

Project: Inkjet manufacturing of electrochemical gas sensors
External: Alphasense

Inkjet manufacturing of electrochemical gas sensors.