3D nano-printing picks up speed

3D nano-printing picks up speed

Summary: Researchers from the Vienna University of Technology say they have increased the speed of three-dimensional nano-scale printing a thousand-fold

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TOPICS: Emerging Tech
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  • Nanoscale 3D printed model of a racing car

    Researchers from the Vienna University of Technology have come up with a way to drastically increase the speed of printing a nanoscale object in 3D.

    On Monday, the scientists released a video demonstrating the high-speed manufacture of a nanoscale racing car using their technology.

    "The high-precision 3D printer at TU Vienna is orders of magnitude faster than similar devices," the researchers said in a statement. 

    The TU Vienna technology allows printing in nanoscale 3D at a rate of five metres per second. The previous record was held by LZH (Laser Zentrum Hannover) with a speed of 50mm per second.

    The 3D-printing process uses a proprietary liquid resin that is hardened to a polymer at precise co-ordinates using a focused laser beam. The focal point of the beam is guided by movable mirrors and is precise enough to create objects such as this 285µm racing car (pictured), which is smaller than a grain of sand.

    Unlike other 3D printing, the finished product is not built up layer by layer. Instead, the different components of the object can be created anywhere in the liquid resin.

    Image credit: TU Vienna

  • Nanoscale 3D printed model of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

    The resin that was hardened to create this model of St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, contains molecules that are activated by absorbing two photons from the laser. They start a chain reaction in monomers in the resin, turning them into a solid.

    The resin, a liquid photopolymerisable formulation, was developed by professor Robert Liska of TU Vienna.

    "Commercially available resins are not suitable for this precision and writing speed," TU Vienna researcher Jan Torgersen told ZDNet UK. "The reactivity and efficiency of the formulations is as important as precise and fast mechanics."

    Image credit: Klaus Cicha/TU Vienna

Topic: Emerging Tech

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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