Certain metals form unique organometallic compounds that can be used to produce solid, fully dense metal deposits at near-ambient conditions. This chemistry has been employed commercially since early 1900’s in the production of high purity Ni, Fe and FeNi products (so-called “Mond process”) and more recently, in the production of integrated electronic circuits.
The figure on the right illustrates the principle of LCVD. It is possible to control the process so that photolytic decomposition of gaseous metal precursor is suppressed (effectively zero) and the process becomes 100% pyrolytic, forming precise solid metal deposits based on the laser beam location. The above image shows a sample of LCVD-produced nickel on an open-cell polyurethane foam structure.
Utilizing vapor-phase precursors of metals in specially designed 3-D printers enables the formation of complex, high-precision 3-D metal objects with unique properties.