Tuesday, March 13, 2012

3-D Printing: Now With Nano-scale Precision

285 microns is darn small.
From PhysOrg:
3D-printer with nano-precision

3D-printer with nano-precision

A 285 µm racecar, printed at the Vienna University of Technolog

Printing three dimensional objects with incredibly fine details is now possible using "two-photon lithography". With this technology, tiny structures on a nanometer scale can be fabricated. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have now made a major breakthrough in speeding up this printing technique: The high-precision-3D-printer at TU Vienna is orders of magnitude faster than similar devices (see video). This opens up completely new areas of application, such as in medicine....

...This amazing progress was made possible by combining several new ideas. “It was crucial to improve the control mechanism of the mirrors”, says Jan Torgersen (TU Vienna). 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.

3D-printer with nano-precision
A model of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna. Credit: Klaus Cicha