That is the world’s smallest 3D-printed wineglass, Swedish scientists declare

The world’s smallest 3D-printed wineglass (left) and an optical resonator for fiber optic telecommunication

Enlarge / The world’s smallest 3D-printed wineglass in silica glass (left) and an optical resonator for fiber optic telecommunication, photographed with scanning electron microscopy. The rim of the glass is smaller than the width of a human hair. (credit score: KTH Royal Institute of Expertise)

A crew of Swedish scientists has developed a novel 3D-printing approach for silica glass that streamlines a sophisticated energy-intensive course of. As a proof of idea, they 3D-printed the world’s smallest wineglass (manufactured from precise glass) with a rim smaller than the width of 1 human hair, in addition to an optical resonator for fiber optic telecommunications techniques—one in every of a number of potential functions for 3D-printed silica glass parts. They described their new technique in a latest paper within the journal Nature Communications.

“The spine of the Web relies on optical fibers manufactured from glass,” stated co-author Kristinn Gylfason of the KTH Royal Institute of Expertise in Stockholm. “In these techniques, all types of filters and couplers are wanted that may now be 3D printed by our approach. This opens many new prospects.”

Silica glass (i.e., amorphous silicon dioxide) is one materials that continues to be difficult for 3D printing, significantly on the microscale, based on the authors, although a number of strategies search to deal with that problem, together with stereolithography, direct ink writing, and digital gentle processing. Even these have solely been capable of obtain characteristic sizes on the order of a number of tens of micrometers, aside from one 2021 research that reported nanoscale decision.

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