3D printing has been hailed as the next big disruption, but a new development might actually be far more disruptive than small scale manufacturing. According to a report in the MIT Technology Review a nano-scale 3D printer may enable the manufacturing of nanoscale materials 100 times faster than the previous generation printer.
The printer was developed at Nanoscribe an offshoot of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. The machine itself is the successor to Nanoscribe’s slower machine which is already in use at many laboratories around the world. The new printer can create objects as small as 30 nanometers. It excels over it’s predecessor by using mirrors to reflect lasers rather than moving the laser itself in three dimensions. The objects are created in a process of two-polymer polarization using a light sensitive material.
This advancement is primarily being used in labs now, but creating faster nano-level construction could allow for some interesting applications outside of the lab. The article points out that this could be used to create many different medical applications like stents or microneedles. What might be more interesting is the possibility of using the printer to create templates for chips in electronics. With quick fabs like this there could be smaller runs and quicker prototyping.
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