During a recent visit to the Hamlyn Centre at Imperial College London (England), the Chinese president Xi Jinping was fascinated by tiny objects produced by Nanoscribe (Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany)'s 3D printer. Nanoscribe offers 3D printing on the nano-, micro-, and mesoscales.
|A section of the Chinese Great Wall on the micrometer scale printed with a Nanoscribe system. (Image credit: Hamlyn Centre, Imperial College London)|
The Hamlyn Centre researchers showed the president 3D objects narrower than a human hair. He and the Duke of York, who was also visiting the college, were presented with tiny gifts demonstrating the outstanding capabilities the high-tech 3D printers. While Xi Jingping could take home a section of the Chinese Great Wall on the micrometer scale, Prince Andrew received a panda leaping over a bamboo that was printed to the tip of a needle. “The height of the panda is approximately 50µm, or half the width of a human hair,” explained Maura Power, a PhD student supervised by Professor Yang at Hamlyn Centre.
|A panda leaping over a bamboo printed to the tip of a needle. (Image credit: Hamlyn Centre, Imperial College London)|
The underlying cutting-edge technique of this 3D printing process is called two-photon polymerization (2PP). It allows the Hamlyn Centre researchers to develop previously impossible medical therapies and devices, such as swimming microrobots for targeted drug delivery as well as ultra-small instruments for microsurgery.
To view the 3D printing process of the tiny Chinese Great Wall, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l48q0evvH9Q.