|Emerging Technology Award Winner - HRL Laboratories, LLC|
HRL Labs developed a new UV photopolymerization technique to create or “architect” microlattice materials in a rapid, scalable fashion. The microlattice materials are formed by taking advantage of a self-propagating waveguide phenomenon that can occur under certain exposure conditions. Because the waveguides propagate from a single exposure plane and can interconnect during formation, thick three-dimensional polymer microlattice materials can be formed in less than one minute with features ranging from tens of microns to millimeters.
The inherent flexibility of this new approach enables precise control the microlattice material architecture, which ultimately enables the design of a material to achieve a particular property or function. The utility of these new materials range from lightweight energy absorbing structures to thermal management materials to bio-scaffolds—and this UV process has enabled the creation of the world’s lightest structure.