Printing, folding and assembly methods for forming 3D mesostructures in advanced materials

Yihui Zhang*, Fan Zhang, Zheng Yan, Qiang Ma, Xiuling Li, Yonggang Huang, John A. Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

512 Scopus citations


A rapidly expanding area of research in materials science involves the development of routes to complex 3D structures with feature sizes in the mesoscopic range (that is, between tens of nanometres and hundreds of micrometres). A goal is to establish methods for controlling the properties of materials systems and the function of devices constructed with them, not only through chemistry and morphology, but also through 3D architectures. The resulting systems, sometimes referred to as metamaterials, offer engineered behaviours with optical, thermal, acoustic, mechanical and electronic properties that do not occur in the natural world. Impressive advances in 3D printing techniques represent some of the most broadly recognized developments in this field, but recent successes with strategies based on concepts in origami, kirigami and deterministic assembly provide additional, unique options in 3D design and high-performance materials. In this Review, we highlight the latest progress and trends in methods for fabricating 3D mesostructures, beginning with the development of advanced material inks for nozzle-based approaches to 3D printing and new schemes for 3D optical patterning. In subsequent sections, we summarize more recent methods based on folding, rolling and mechanical assembly, including their application with materials such as designer hydrogels, monocrystalline inorganic semiconductors and graphene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17019
JournalNature Reviews Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 29 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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