New 3D technology allows for precision printing on a nanoscale. In a process called two-photon lithography, tiny structures on a nanometer scale can be printed. Using a liquid resin hardened by a laser beam, the printer can create structures as little as a hundred nanometers in width. The big breakthrough by the materials science team at the Vienna University of Technology is not just about the precision of the 3D printing but also about the speed of the device. Although the scale is nano the device can lay down resin at a rate of 5 meters per second.
When the resin is exposed to the laser light it becomes solid. Unlike conventional 3D printers that create models one layer at a time, the technology developed at the University can print solid material anywhere in the design.
What are the applications for this type of 3D printing? Here are just a few:
- Organic Tissue – Creating scaffoldings for living cells to attach to in growing organs and human tissue for transplant and laboratory study.
- Medical Devices – nano-sized technologies for diagnosis and repair related to human diseases
- Electronic Devices – micro level components for semiconductors and chips
- Optics – nano-sized lenses for photonics and lasers