Commuting Dust Mites

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This is a 285 micrometer racecar, printed at the Vienna University of Technology. Credit: Vienna University of Technology

Imagine a car small enough for a dust mite. Crazy, right?

Well, with new printing technology, this just might be possible.

The 3D 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 polymerized line of solid polymer, just a few hundred nanometers wide. This high resolution enables the creation of intricately structured sculptures as tiny as a grain of sand. “Until now, this technique used to be quite slow”, says Professor J├╝rgen Stampfl from the Institute of Materials Science and Technology at the TU Vienna. “The printing speed used to be measured in millimeters per second – our device can do five meters in one second.” In two-photon lithography, this is a world record.

Admittedly, this “racecar” is just a model, but it is sufficiently small, at 285 micrometers in length, to accommodate that dust mite:

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I know, the world does not need commuting dust mites, but I love the possibilities of such technology!

Comments

  1. #1 richard
    March 20, 2012

    use dust mites to control harmful other? train mites for scientific research in the micro world?