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Real-life ‘shrink ray’ can reduce 3D structures

Real-life 'shrink ray' can reduce 3D structures 1

Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 CSIROThe new technique is a big improvement over conventional methods.

Scientists have discovered a way to reduce 3D objects to a mere one thousandth of their original size.

The research, which was carried out at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, makes it possible to produce nanoscopic structures of almost any shape.

The technique involves first creating the desired structure by patterning a polymer scaffold with a laser, then shrinking it down using a process known as implosion fabrication.

“It’s a way of putting nearly any kind of material into a 3D pattern with nanoscale precision,” said biological engineering and nanotechnology scientist Professor Edward Boyden.

The method is a big improvement over 3D nanoscale printing because it can be achieved without specialized materials using equipment that many laboratories will already have.

Eventually, it will be possible to use this technique to create everything from high-end camera lenses to tiny nanoscopic robots that can swim through the human bloodstream and cure diseases.

“There are all kinds of things you can do with this,” said Boyden.

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“Democratizing nanofabrication could open up frontiers we can’t yet imagine.”

Source: MIT.edu

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