Feeds

Speedy 3D printer creates 285µm Formula-1 speedster

Nanoscale engineering just got much faster

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Scientists at the Vienna Institute of Technology have demonstrated a polymer and laser etching technique that promises to dramatically speed up the printing of tiny 3D objects.

The technique uses a fluid polymer developed at the university, which hardens when hit by a strong light source. A laser was used to create a series of models by directing the beam with a series of mirrors. Being able to direct the light quickly, combined with the fast-setting qualities of the polymer, enabled the team to set new speed records for this kind of nanoengineering.

"Until now, this technique used to be quite slow," said Professor Jürgen Stampfl from the Institute of Materials Science and Technology in a statement. "The printing speed used to be measured in millimeters per second – our device can do five meters in one second."

Nanoscale Indy car

Now all we need is a miniature Lewis Hamilton (click to enlarge)

The polymer needs to absorb two photons of the laser beam at once, which is only possible at the center of the beam, in order to kick off the chemical processes involved. Because the hardened surface doesn't need to be prepared before the next layer is added, this adds to the speed of printing.

"The resin contains molecules, which are activated by the laser light. They induce a chain reaction in other components of the resin, so-called monomers, and turn them into a solid," said team member Jan Torgersen.

Nanoscale Tower Bridge

In this wee Tower Bridge, the towers are a mere 90µm apart (click to enlarge)

The team is now looking at practical applications for the process. Because of the increased speed, much larger objects (relatively speaking) can be built, and the team envisages using it to build individual tools and parts for nanoengineering, or printing minute frameworks of scaffolding around which biological cells can form around medical purposes. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.