A research team from Leiden University have managed to create the world’s smallest 3D printed tug boat. The tiny boat, which is modeled off of the Benchy tug boat, measures in at just 30 micrometers. This is about a third of the thickness of a hair or only 6 times larger than a bacteria cell.
Researchers created the tiny 3D-printed boat by using a commercial Nanoscribe 3D microprinter and a process known as 2PP (two-photon polymerization), according to Engadget. The process also involves creating the 3D-printed boat inside liquid droplets with materials that harden when hit by the focal point of extremely precise lasers.
According to Researcher Daniela Kraft: “By moving the laser through the droplet in a controlled way, we can write the swimmer shape that we want,”
Take a look at the process in action below:
The goal behind the experiment was to explore how different microscopic organisms like sperm and bacteria move through liquids, according to reports from Gizmodo.
“Ultimately, it will allow a greater control and design of the behavior of synthetic microswimmers, useful for applications in therapeutic diagnostics and drug delivery,” The researchers explained in their paper.
Picture: Royal Society of Chemistry