New 3D Printing Method Prints in Seconds

Scientists have successfully adapted a 3D printer to work similarly to a laser printer, enabling the printing of various types of polymers without the use of solvents, chemicals, or the need for a clean room. This breakthrough in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has simplified the production process for creating three-dimensional models and structures, from buildings and bridges to cosmic components, without the need to assemble multiple parts together. However, the previous drawback of requiring specific chemical ink, especially crucial in industries like aerospace and medicine that demand clean rooms, has been a limiting factor.

Polymers play a crucial role in flexible electronic devices used for health and disease monitoring. The necessity of clean rooms and specific ink has made rapid prototyping time-consuming and expensive. The new method utilizes ultra-short laser pulses to quickly create micro-structures without the need for a controlled environment, making it more efficient and cost-effective.

Researchers from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Stockholm University in Sweden assert that printing such polymers is a pivotal step in prototyping new types of electrochemical transistors for medical implants, wearable electronics, and biosensors. Initial tests have successfully produced inverters and glucose monitors using this innovative approach, avoiding the labor costs associated with standard electronics production and the use of harmful solvents and baths.

This development not only paves the way for creating templates for other flexible electronic devices but also provides the opportunity to replace some current components with more affordable alternatives. In a related study in the field of biomedical engineering, scientists from the University of Wisconsin in Madison utilized 3D printing technology to create brain tissue, highlighting the diverse applications and advancements in additive manufacturing.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.