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Tiny 3D-printed gift for Chinese President

November 19, 2015

During his visit of the Hamlyn Centre at Imperial College London, the Chinese president Xi Jinping was very fascinated by tiny 3D-printed objects produced by means of a Photonic Professional GT system. Our London-based customer showed him three-dimensional objects narrower than a human hair. He and the Duke of York, who was also visiting the college, were presented with tiny gifts demonstrating the outstanding capabilities of Nanoscribe’s 3D printers.

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Professor Guang-Zhong Yang (right) speaks to Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Hamlyn Centre for Medical Robotics during a visit to Imperial College in October, 2015 in London, England. [Image by Anthony Devlin - WPA Pool/Getty Images]

While Xi Jinping could take home a section of the Chinese Great Wall on the micrometer scale, Prince Andrew got a panda leaping over a bamboo that was printed to the tip of a needle. “The height of the panda is approximately 50 micrometres, or half the width of a human hair”, explained Maura Power, a PhD student supervised by Professor Yang at Hamlyn Centre.

The underlying cutting-edge technique of this 3D printing process is called two-photon polymerization (2PP). It allows the researchers at Hamlyn Centre to develop previously impossible medical therapies and devices, e.g. swimming microrobots for targeted drug delivery as well as ultra-small instruments for microsurgery. You can watch a movie of the printing process of the tiny Chinese Wall here: Imperial College London - Great Wall Printing Process

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 left: Section of the Chinese Great Wall on the micrometer scale printed with a Nanoscribe system at The Hamlyn Centre, Imperial College London
right: Panda leaping over a bamboo printed to the tip of a needle. Img: Hamlyn Centre, Imperial College London.

Also read the complete story of the Chinese president’s visit: Imperial College London - New 3D printing tech empowers surgeons at a nano scale