3D printing may be entering yet another new frontier, complex nano scale metal structure printing. Thanks to the work of researchers at Caltech, a new process of 3D printing has been identified that, while it still need to be improved to be practical, promises to allow 3D printers to create complex, nano scale metal structures.
|New technique enables 3D printing of complex nanoscale metal structures|
For the first time, it is possible to create complex nanoscale metal structures using 3-D printing, thanks to a new technique developed at Caltech.
The process, once scaled up, could be used in a wide variety of applications, from building tiny medical implants to creating 3-D logic circuits on computer chips to engineering ultralightweight aircraft components. It also opens the door to the creation of a new class of materials with unusual properties that are based on their internal structure. The technique is described in a study that will be published in Nature Communications on February 9……
….Greer and Vyatskikh are still refining their technique; right now, the structure reported on in their paper includes some voids left behind by the vaporized organic materials as well as some minor impurities. Also, if the technique is to be of use to industry, it will need to be scaled up to produce much more material, says Greer. Although they started with nickel, they are interested in expanding to other metals that are commonly used in industry but are challenging or impossible to fabricate in small 3-D shapes, such as tungsten and titanium. Greer and Vyatskikh are also looking to use this process to 3-D print other materials, both common and exotic, such as ceramics, semiconductors, and piezoelectric materials (materials with electrical effects that result from mechanical stresses).
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