Nanoscribe GmbH, a spin-off of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), has developed the world’s fastest 3D printer of micro- and nanostructures, the German company claims.
With this printer, three-dimensional objects, often smaller than the diameter of a human hair, can be manufactured with minimum time consumption and maximum resolution. The printer is based on a novel laser lithography method.
Nanoscribe systems are used to print polymer waveguides reaching data transfer rates of more than 5 terabits per second.
Using the new laser lithography method, printing speed is increased by factor of about 100. This increase in speed results from the use of a special “galvo” mirror system, a technology that is also applied in laser show devices or scanning units of CD and DVD drives.
Reflecting a laser beam off the rotating galvo mirrors facilitates rapid and precise laser focus positioning. “We are revolutionizing 3D printing on the micrometer scale. Precision and speed are achieved by the industrially established galvo technology,” says Martin Hermatschweiler, the managing director of Nanoscribe GmbH.
Scientists at the CSIRO and RMIT University have discovered a new two-dimensional nano-material that could pave the way for the creation of even smaller computing devices that offer big improvements in processing speed.
The material is made up of layers of crystal known as ‘molybdenum oxides’, which have unique properties that encourage the free flow of electrons at ultra-high speeds.
Speaking to CIO Dr Serge Zhuiykov, a scientist at the CSIRO, said the team had created layers of material as thin as 10 nanometres, significantly thinner than the current electronic industry benchmark of between 20 and 30 nanometres for silicon-based chips.
Researchers created this new conductive nano-material using ‘graphene’, which was developed in 2004 by scientists in the UK and won its investors a Nobel Prize in 2010. Although graphene supports high speed electrons, its physical properties have prevent it from being used for high-speed electronics.
The nanotechnology patent filing boom continues. In 2012, the USPTO published 4,098 nanotechnology class 977 applications, which represents a 19.2% increase over last year. By way of comparison, in 2008, the USPTO published only 827 nanotechnology applications, and in 2009, only 1,499. Hence, the number has almost tripled in three years.This patenting trend is consistent, as we have previously commented in our November 25, September 4, and July 8, 2012 posts. Hopefully, federal policy makers are noticing this important trend and managing well the implications including licensing and litigation. At least 12.4% of the filings report a federal funding statement as required under the Bayh-Dole act.
The impact on the investment markets for nanotechnology is likely to be substantial. Existing commercialisation efforts around nanotechnology have been disappointing so far, but a company success on the scale now being talked about would undoubtedly attract more money into the area – perhaps it might also persuade some of the companies currently sitting on huge piles of cash that they might usefully invest some of this in a little more research and development. What’s significant about Oxford Nanopore is that it is operating in a sweet spot between the mundane and the far-fetched. It’s not a nanomaterials company, essentially competing in relatively low margin speciality chemicals, nor is it trying to make a nanofactory or nanoscale submarine or one of the other more radical visions of the nanofuturists.
"By directing the light and concentrating where it can be most efficiently used, we could greatly increase the efficiency of already existing energy producing systems, such as biofuel reactors and solar cells, as well as innovate entirely new forms of energy production" explains Psaltis. "EPFL is the world leader in optofluidics, our institution is in a position to develop truly efficient and disruptive energy sources."
By mimicking the structure of the silk moth’s antenna, University of Michigan researchers led the development of a better nanopore—a tiny tunnel-shaped tool that could advance understanding of a class of neurodegenerative diseases that includes Alzheimer’s.
Numerous nanomaterials are currently at the focus of public attention. In particular silver nanoparticles are being investigated in detail, both by scientists as well as by the regulatory authorities. The assumption behind this interest is that they are dealing with a completely new substance. However, Empa researchers Bernd Nowack and Harald Krug, together with Murray Heights of the company HeiQ have shown in a paper recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology that nanosilver is by no means the discovery of the 21st century. Silver particles with diameters of seven to nine nm were mentioned as early as 1889. They were used in medications or as biocides to prevent the growth of bacteria on surfaces, for example in antibacterial water filters or in algaecides for swimming pools.
The nanoparticles were known as "colloidal silver" in those days, but what was meant was the same then as now – extremely small particles of silver. The only new aspect is the use today of the prefix "nano". "However," according to Bernd Nowack, "nano does not mean something new, and nor does it mean something that is harmful." When "colloidal silver" became available on the market in large quantities in the 1920s it was the topic of numerous studies and subject to appropriate regulation by the authorities. Even in those days the significance of the discovery of nanoparticles and how they worked was realized. "That is not to say that the possible side-effects of nanoparticles on humans and the environment should be played down or ignored," adds Nowack. It is important to characterize in exact detail the material properties of nanosilver and not just to believe unquestioningly the doubts and reservations surrounding the product.
he Morpho butterfly’s highly evolved wings are so unique that scientists at Simon Fraser University (SFU) have teamed up with NanoTech Security to reproduce their iridescent blue coloring for a new anti-counterfeiting technology.
Nanotech Security’s new anti-counterfeiting product, N.O.t.E.S., will replace holograms used on banknotes and to authenticate items such as legal documents, visas, passports and retail merchandise.
A clever pairing of nanotechnology and entomology — the study of insects — used nanoscale microscopic holes that interact with light to reproduce the butterfly’s shimmering signature wherever a counterfeit-proof watermark is desired: in bank notes, legal documents, merchandise, concert tickets, stock certificates, visas, passports, and pharmaceutical products, to name a few of the possible uses.
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Blogging the Singularity Bloggers:
Chris Williamson: Filmmaker, science enthusiast, and futurist concerned with the accelerating nature of technological growth and where it's headed. He is currently studying for his MFA in Film Production.
Frank Whittemore: As an IT professional since 1961, the accelerating change of technology is not news to him but the wonder will never cease! Be sure check out Frank's blog about Life Extension!