In situ jet electrolyte micromachining and additive manufacturing

Tianyu Li, Xiao Yan, Xiaolong Fang, Puhang Jin, Jiaqi Li, Kazi Fazle Rabbi, Nenad Miljkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Jet electrolyte micromachining (JEMM) exploits water-jet-assisted electrochemistry to achieve metal processing with spatial localization, precision, and flexibility. Currently, JEMM enables both micromilling and deposition, with the manufacturing precision and efficiency limited by the preparation and installation of the microscale tool electrodes (typically > 100 μm). Here, we develop a facile and low-cost platform for integrated in situ micro-subtractive and additive JEMM. Our technology is capable of machining micrometric grooves and pillars with controllable length scales (>20 μm) and topologies (patterns or spatial geometries) on metallic substrates. The integrated platform pumps electrolyte toward a workpiece through a nozzle to perform multiple tasks on the same setup, including micronozzle tool preparation, subtractive manufacturing, and additive manufacturing. We achieve this by controlling electrode polarity and electrolyte. We demonstrate our platform for microfabrication of grooves having a variety of widths ranging from 20 to 100 μm when working in the subtractive JEMM mode. In the additive JEMM mode, we demonstrate the fabrication of complex three-dimensional high-aspect-ratio micropillars having customized geometries beyond what is currently available with conventional methods. The proposed technology enables precise, controllable, efficient, and scalable additive and subtractive micromanufacturing for a plethora of applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number171602
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Oct 25 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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