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Supersonic Gas Speeds Nanoscale 3D Printing

July 08, 2019 / Stephen Mraz

Engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have devised a method of energizing precursor molecules used in 3D printing nanoscale parts by using a tiny, high-energy supersonic jet of inert gas. This dramatically accelerates fabrication of nanometer scale structures. The 3D printing technique also lets them make structures with high aspect ratios. Now, a theory they developed to describe the technique could lead to new applications for 3D printing nanoscale parts and new nanoscale materials. Based on focused electron beam deposition, the technique lets structures to be made out of gas-phase precursors at rates approaching what could be expected in the liquid phase, all without raising the temperature of substrates. That could lead to manufacturing of nanometer-scale structures at rates that could make them practical for use in magnetic memories, high-frequency antennas, quantum communication devices, spintronics, and atomic-scale resonators.