New 3D Printer Creates Metallic Objects In Midair

Posted: May 17 2016, 10:06pm CDT | by , Updated: May 18 2016, 8:37pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
New 3D Printer Create Metallic Objects in Midair
Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

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Harvard researchers have developed a new eye-popping way to print tiny, flexible electronic devices.

Researchers from Harvard University have found a new innovative way to create tiny metallic objects. The new technique involves a 3D printer that uses laser to make thin, flexible electronic devices and sensors as they are seemingly hanging midair. And this technique has a potential to replace conventional methods that can only produce flat, rigid and heavy electronic devices.

The Harvard 3D printer uses special ink made of silver nanoparticles to print complex metallic architectures. The ink is send into a nozzle where a precisely programmed laser applies just the right amount of energy required to solidify the ink.

Typical 3D printers build up objects layer by layer, where each subsequent layer relies on its predecessor for support. But the new novel 3D printer is designed to ooze out material that immediately turns solid instead of spitting out one layer over another. The technique can produce tiny objects in curvy, spiral and angular shapes even a butterfly made of silver wires thinner than a hair can also be printed with it. In this way, the production of metallic object can be done within seconds and more cheaply than conventional methods.

The Harvard 3D printer seems superior to standard methods in every respect from precision to rapidness to freedom to create objects in any intricate shape and it will open up almost limitless new potential applications in the field of electronic and biomedical engineering.

Donald Ingber from Harvard’s Wyss Institute says. “This sophisticated use of laser technology to enhance 3D printing capabilities not only inspires new kinds of products, it moves the frontier of sold-free form fabrication into an exciting new realm, demonstrating once again that previously-accepted design limitations can be overcome by innovation.”

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