Researchers from IBM Corporation in collaboration with scientists from ETH Zurich Science and Technology Universityannounced the development of a new printing method that allows placing nanosize particles on a precise location.
The technology makes it possible to manipulate particles smaller than 100 nanometers, which delivers resolution equivalent to 100,000 dots per inch. Compare that to maximum resolution of 1,500 dots per inch of current offset printers.
IBM cautions the technology has many years to pass before any commercial application is possible. So far, they demonstrated the effectiveness of the developed method by printing an image of the sun. Back then in the 17th century, the sun was alchemist’s symbol for gold, so the researchers used 20,000 gold particles, 60 nanometers in diameter each, to create the image (courtesy of IBM).
This printing process is expected to have a dramatic impact on biomedicine, electronics and information technology, according to ScientificAmerican.com:
Still just a conceptual construct, the nano-printing process could be applied to biomedicine to help screen for diseases by graphically illustrating the locations of, say, cancer cells or heart attack markers in a patient’s body.
In the information technology world, nanoprinting could be used to achieve the controlled placement of catalytic seed particles for growing semiconducting nanowires. Such nanowires are promising candidates for future transistors in microchips.