ETH Zurich has turn it intod a few of the many amazing 3D printing research we’ve covered on 3DPI and, now a days, they’ve revealed the spin off of at very least one of those research endeavors into an independent business. And that business is an amazing one. Dubbed Cytosurge AG, the ETH Zurich spin off can be dedicated to the commercialization of the FluidFM system for 3D micro printing tiny metallic structures.
Whilst EOS and 3D-Micromac previously teamed up to form 3D Micro Print for the micro laser sintering of minuscule metal parts, Cytosurge was not satisfied with the technologies on the market for making metallic micro- and nano-structures. For instance, laser sintering of highly reactive micro metal particles, Cytosurge states in a press release, requires incredibly high safety standards, making them additional costly. The FluidFM system, yet, allows for for the production of tiny structures, that include tiny overhangs, in a single production step.
This innovation may be particularly useful for the making of watch components, that are yet, to this day, frequently generated by hand, and for tiny medical instruments for minimally invasive procedures. Naturally, as electronics become tinyer and nanotech is on the rise, the innovation lends itself to those applications as well. Co-founder and CEO of Cytosurge, Dr. Pascal Behr, speaks to their breakthrough innovation by saying, “The newly turn it intod 3D printing method is suitable for applications in different types of markets. Presently we see future applications especially in the watch- and semiconductor industry as well as in medical device sector.” He adds, “It offers our customers informative growth future and possibilities to increase efficiency.”
FluidFM works through the use of a micropipette attached to a cantilever leaf-spring, enabling for the exact control over the deposition of materials, such as the firm’s copper sulfate solution that can flow through the pipette 300 nanometer opening. So, with an electrode, a chemical reaction is cautilized under that opening to convert the copper sulfate into solid copper, as it is deposited on a printbed of gold. Given the first use of FluidFM for bioinnovation at ETH Zurich, the firm believes that this same system can be utilized for other materials and industries, as well. Tomaso Zambelli, associate lecturer and group leader at the Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioelectronics at ETH Zurich, comments, “This method can be utilized to print not just copper but in addition other metals. FluidFM® may actually be suitable for 3D printing with polymers and composite materials.
The system in addition allows for for detecting the pressure of the pipette, that lends itself to in-system monitoring, essential for automation. Luca Hirt, ETH doctoral student and inventor of the new 3D printing technique, speaks to this point, “We can use this signal as feedback. Unlike other 3D printing systems, ours can detect that areas of the object have may already been printed. This can manufacture it simpler to additional automatize
and scale the printing system.”
To get their innovation out into the world, Cytosurge can be developing an independent product line for industry and is looking for industrial partners interested in investing in the innovation. On top of that, the firm is looking to partner with research groups in industry or at the university level to turn it into new 3D printing technologies based off of the FluidFM platform.