Researchers optimize 4D polymer printing with photochemical microreactor. A team of researchers at the University of Miami has developed a 4D printing system using a massively parallel flow-through photochemical microreactor. The extra “dimension” comes from the 3D printer’s ability to precisely control the monomer composition of each feature in a brush polymer array.
When it comes to 3D printing, pinpoint accuracy is paramount. Researchers, businesses, and individuals continually seek to achieve the highest possible 3D printing resolutions in order to create 3D printed objects of the highest possible quality. However, even the best nozzles and materials have their limitations—that is, until the 3D printing process of which they are a part goes “4D”.
4D polymer micropatterning, “where the position (x,y), height (z), and monomer composition of each feature in a brush polymer array is controlled with sub-1 micrometer precision,” has been achieved by a group of researchers from the University of Miami, who believe that their new system could be eventually be used in gene chip and protein array research.
The University of Miami research team, led by Adam Braunschweig, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and former Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at New York University, designed a 4D printing system which uses 1cm2 parallel tip arrays, microfluidics and photochemical polymerizations to grow brush polymers on a glass surface. The printing process is incredibly fast and achieves sub-micrometer resolution without the use of high-energy beams. The Braunschweig Group, part of the UM Department of Chemistry, is currently engaged in a number of supramolecular polymer research projects.Read more