Engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have made the breakthrough in printing incredibly small metallic nanostructures using the power of light. The current methods are very slow and cumbersome, preventing their use at any viable commercial scale. It is very expensive to print metallic nanostructures using an extremely powerful light source known as a femtosecond laser.
The laboratory equipment typically costs hundreds of dollars, making the process unaffordable and printing metallic nanostructures very slowly. These two limitations have made increasing this nanoscale manufacturing of advanced devices and components virtually impossible, limiting their uses almost exclusively to laboratory settings.
Superluminescent light projection is the method discovered by the engineer that represents a breakthrough that could allow revolutionary technological advancements across various industrial, commercial, and scientific applications, including advances in nanotechnology.
As technology continues to grow, scientists and engineers have developed a greater need for objects printed at the nanoscale, meaning hundreds of times smaller than a human hair, and this is true in the latest technologies like power generation and sensing, as well as novel medical procedures that previously only existed in science fiction.
“As a scientific community, we don’t have the ability to make enough of these nanomaterials quickly and affordably,” explained Sourabh Saha, an assistant professor in the university’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, “and that is why promising technologies often stay limited to the lab and don’t get translated into real-world applications.”