Direct ink writing (DIW) three-dimensional (3D) printing provides a revolutionary approach to fabricating components with gradients in material properties. Herein, we report a method for generating colloidal germania feedstock and germania-silica inks for the production of optical quality germania-silica (GeO2-SiO2) glasses by DIW, making available a new material composition for the development of multimaterial and functionally graded optical quality glasses and ceramics by additive manufacturing. Colloidal germania and silica particles are prepared by a base-catalyzed sol-gel method and converted to printable shear-thinning suspensions with desired viscoelastic properties for DIW. The volatile solvents are then evaporated, and the green bodies are calcined and sintered to produce transparent, crack-free glasses. Chemical and structural evolution of GeO2-SiO2 glasses is confirmed by nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray diffraction, and Raman spectroscopy. UV-vis transmission and optical homogeneity measurements reveal comparable performance of the 3D printed GeO2-SiO2 glasses to glasses produced using conventional approaches and improved performance over 3D printed TiO2-SiO2 inks. Moreover, because GeO2-SiO2 inks are compatible with DIW technology, they offer exciting options for forming new materials with patterned compositions such as gradients in the refractive index that cannot be achieved with conventional manufacturing approaches.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)