LU Industrial Energy Professor Accepted to Department of Energy Visiting Faculty Program for Summer 2021

Dr. Kelley Bradley, Assistant Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering, has been accepted to the Visiting Faculty Program (VFP) at the Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the nation’s largest multi-program science and technology laboratory. In the ten week VFP program Dr. Bradley will collaborate with DOE Scientist, Dr. Nick Lavrick, at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS).  Their work will focus on 2-photon stereolithography, a highly advanced form of 3D printing that can manufacture microscopic objects.

            “I’ve been very interested in this technology and the implications of being able to print structures with features down to 200 nanometers wide,” explained Dr. Bradley. “Printing things this small opens up a completely new playing field.”
Dr. Kelley Bradley

The technology behind 2-photon 3D printing is not new, but commercialization of these devices has been recent.  That, combined with the high cost to purchase one, makes them relatively rare. “When I first learned about these printers, I was blown away by what they can accomplish,” said Dr. Bradley. “I managed a nanofabrication facility for a number of years, so I was familiar with the complicated processes that researchers go through to create microscale- or nano-sale objects with 3D structure. This device can accomplish in a single print job what would otherwise require an entire facility.”

            Dr. Bradley applied to the VFP program with the hopes of doing research using the CNMS 2-photon 3D printer. He and  Dr. Lavrick will conduct exploratory research developing methods to actuate mico- and nano-scale 3D structures made with the printer.   

“We want to develop methods that works with the standard photo-resin provided by the manufacturer with minimal additional steps needed after printing.  We’ll be doing pioneering work, exploring an area that nobody else is looking at,” said Dr. Bradley. “It’s exciting, and also risky because we don’t know how it will turn out, but that’s the reason I’m interested in 2-photon 3D printing, there are a lot of low hanging fruit just waiting for someone with a good idea and a willingness to take a risk.”