Accelerating Nano 3D Printing

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

nanoscale 3d printing - TU Wien


 3D Printing
Jan Torgensen has been involved in the development of a 3D printer that uses a liquid resin, which is hardened at precisely the correct spots by a focused laser beam. The focal point of the laser beam is guided through the resin by movable mirrors and leaves behind a polymerized line of solid polymer, just a few hundred nanometers wide. This high resolution enables the creation of intricately structured sculptures as tiny as a grain of sand.
After his studies in mechanical engineering at the Vienna University of Technology, Jan Torgersen started his Phd work at the Insitute of Materials Science and Technology.

Torgersen's field is Additive Manufacturing Technologies; the technology involved in 3D printing. He developed a new printer that is able to produce nano-scaled objects suitable for numerous applications in photonics, surface modifications and biomedical engineering.

The 3D printer uses a liquid resin, which is hardened at precisely the correct spots by a focused laser beam. The focal point of the laser beam is guided through the resin by movable mirrors and leaves behind a polymerized line of solid polymer, just a few hundred nanometers wide. This high resolution enables the creation of intricately structured sculptures as tiny as a grain of sand.

“Until now, this technique used to be quite slow”, says Professor Jürgen Stampfl from the Institute of Materials Science and Technology at the TU Vienna. “The printing speed used to be measured in millimeters per second – our device can do five meters in one second.” In two-photon lithography, this is a world record.
Jan Torgersen and Peter Gruber
Jan Torgersen and Peter Gruber with nano 3D printer

This amazing progress was made possible by combining several new ideas. “It was crucial to improve the control mechanism of the mirrors”, says Torgersen. The mirrors are continuously in motion during the printing process. The acceleration and deceleration-periods have to be tuned very precisely to achieve high-resolution results at a record-breaking speed.

Nanoscale 3D printing


This 3D printer is currently the fastest of its kind and brings the technology closer to industrial applications. How it works was illustrated recently by a video that went around the world, showing the construction of a racing car model in the scale of a human hair.

In his TEDx Talk, Torgersen goes on to focus on what some of the potential uses of this technology are.  Most interesting is the ability to create biological structures such as organs.  This could have tremendous implications for regenerative medicine.  Torgensen also goes on to explain that it might even be possible to print structures within a living body, which would dramatically change our view of medicine and surgery.





SOURCE  TEDx Talks, TU Vienna

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