Using a technique known as two-photon lithography, Austrian researchers have developed
a high-precision 3D printer capable of producing nanometer sized objects in the shape of race cars, cathedrals, and bridges in a matter of minutes. The high-precision 3D printer at TU Vienna is purportedly orders of magnitude faster than similar devices, and opens up new areas of applications, such as in medicine. The super fast nano-printer uses a liquid resin, which is hardened at precisely the correct spots by a focused laser beam. The focal point of the laser beam is guided through the resin by movable mirrors and leaves behind a hardened line of solid polymer, just a few hundred nanometers wide. The result is a detailed sculpture measuring a couple hundred of micrometers in length. According to Professor Jürgen Stampfl from the Institute of Materials Science and Technology at the TU Vienna until now, this technique used to be quite slow. The printing speed used to be measured in millimeters per second, this device can do five meters in one second. In two-photon lithography, this is a world record. The scientists at TU Vienna are now developing bio-compatible resins for medical applications that can be used to create scaffolds to which living cells can attach themselves for the systematic creation of biological tissues. The 3D printer could also be used to create tailor-made components for biomedical technology or nanotechnology. For more information watch video below. The video shows the 3D-printing process in real time.