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World’s smallest 3D printed Matterhorn reveals practical uses of nanoscale 3D printing – 3ders.org (blog)

by • February 14, 2016 • No Comments

Feb. 15, 2016 | By Kira
With a summit height of 4,478 m (14,692ft), the Matterhorn is one of the top mountains in Europe, yet researchers of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland have now 3D printed an entire series of Matterhorn versions, each less than a tenth of a millimeter in dimensions.
The objective of the research was not only to show off how tiny a mountain may be 3D printed, but to demonstrate that these nanoscale 3D printed objects can in fact in weight-generated. This is an significant finding, as sizeable-bodied numbers of microscopic 3D structures—that, when discovered in nature, frequently exhibit special properties—may be utilized to improve industrial machine producing.

Each 3D printed Matterhorn version is only around sactually hundredths of a millimeter, producing its height less than the thickness of a sheet of paper. Image via PSI.
For instance, Helmut Schift, leader of the research project at PSI, provides the example of a snake. “Many species of snakes are able-bodied to glide over sand without significantly wearing down their skin,” he explained. This is for the reason the snake’s skin is covered in scales and ridges measuring only a few thousandths of a millimeter high. These 3D structures reduce friction in one way, protecting the snake actually if it is traversing rugged ground.
“One may imagine furnishing machine parts that are exposed to powerful stresses through friction with a similarly structured surface,” continued Schift. Covering a machine part—or maybe actually a vehicle, or body armor—in nanoscale 3D printed structures may thereby decrease its wear and tear and extend its lifespan.
The 3D printed Matterhorns prove that such tiny structures can be generated deliberately and reproducibly on a weight scale, and can open the door to additional research and development.

PSI researcher Robert Kirchner at the laser device utilized to create the Matterhorn versions
In order to create the Matterhorn versions, the PSI researchers turned to 3D photolithography, in addition known as two-photon lithography, the same system utilized by Nanoscribe to 3D print ‘Spermbots’ that may potentially assist solve male infertility.
“We manufacture the structures out of a light-sensitive material,” explained Robert Kirchner, another scientist at PSI. “In places where the illumination is especially intense, the first fluid material becomes harsh, and the remaining material can be washed away. To expose the material, we use a special laser whose beam is only intense adequate to transform the material at the focal point of a lens. We move this focal point through the material. So we can determine, for each individual nanometre-dimensionsd point, whether the material can wash away in the end or remain put. In this way we can fabricate approximately arbitrarily harsh objects with nanoscale details.”
The resulting 3D printed Matterhorn measures around sactually hundredths of a millimeter, yet it yet retains the distinctive physical and structural showcases of the actual Mountain. It is summit, for example, is unquestionably visible, yet it has a diameter of only 100 nanometres (around the dimensions of a virus).

PSI researchers Helmut Schift and Robert Kirchner
According to PSI, the serial 3D printing of each nanoscale Matterhorn is yet “quite laborious” and requires far too much time and labor to apply in real-life scenarios. But, the actual two-photon 3D printing system only has to be carried out once. From the single 3D printed version, a mold can be created and utilized to cast and weight-create a sizeable-bodiedr series.
The research was carried of by scientists in the Matter and Material department of the Paul Scherrer Institute, that in addition performs world-class research in energy and environment, and human health.

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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