Tiny 3D printed gift for Chinese President

The Chinese president Xi Jinping during his visit of the Hamlyn Centre at Imperial College London was very fascinated by tiny objects produced by means of a Nanoscribe 3D-printer. The researchers showed the President 3D 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 the high-tech 3D printers. While Xi Jingping 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 micrometers, 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.