News and Reviews (March 2019)

Material Mix for 3D Microprinting

Showcase structures fabricated using the custom-made microfluidic system. Left: computer rendering, right: confocal fluorescence images of fabricated structures. Image: Frederik Mayer, KIT

Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Carl Zeiss AG present a new method for high-precision additive manufacturing of micro- and nanostructures composed of multiple materials. In the journal Science Advances they recently reported how they integrate a microfluidic chamber directly within their Nanoscribe 3D printer. The microfluidic system is capable of handling small liquid quantities of multiple photoresists and solvents. Thus, micro- and nanostructures consisting of multiple materials are printed within the 3D printer and without the need to go back and forth from the printer to the chemistry lab.

The researchers showcase multimaterial 3D microprinting with the fabrication of microstructured 3D security features using seven different liquids. As a result, the 3D security microstructure consists of fluorescent markers in multiple colors arranged within a 3D cross-grid scaffold. The printed security microstructures serve as anticounterfeiting features, e.g., for brand products, bills and identity cards.

Open-access publication in Science Advances: Multimaterial 3D laser microprinting using an integrated microfluidic system