Home Research & Education 3D Printing Nanoscale Silica Glass Structures at Lower Temperatures

3D Printing Nanoscale Silica Glass Structures at Lower Temperatures

In a groundbreaking development, material scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the University of California, Irvine, and Edwards Lifesciences have developed a method to 3D print nanoscale glass structures at significantly cooler temperatures than previous methods. This innovation could open the door to new possibilities in the manufacture of high-resolution optical devices.

The researchers used a novel technique in which they created a liquid resin cage-shaped structure around polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane molecules. Unlike other methods that use suspended silica nanoparticles, this resin served as ink for 3D printing objects. After the printing process, the objects were heated to 650°C – a stark contrast to other methods requiring heating to 1100°C.

This heating process removed the organic components and forged the cage structures into a continuous glass material. The resulting glass structures showed impressive detail accuracy and stability, expanding the application possibilities of this technique.

The researchers tested their approach by 3D printing microlenses and other tiny objects. The results were promising and suggest that this method could be used for on-chip printing of optical-grade fused silica glass. This could revolutionize the manufacture of high-resolution optical devices and open up new possibilities in photonics and other light-based technologies.

More can also be read in the paper “A sinterless, low-temperature route to 3D print nanoscale optical-grade glass” and “Improving glass nanostructure fabrication“.

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