3D printer at work (stock) .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Monday opened the country’s first research center focusing on 3D and functioning printing to allow researchers to explore scientific and technological avenues in this emerging field, while exposing them to Israeli and international industry.
3D printing is the process of creating real-world objects from digital models. Coupled with functional printing, which adds functions such as light emission or movement to a printed product, this constantly expanding technology is making it possible to form new functional structures, such as printed robots, plastic solar cells, military and medical equipment, radiation and light detectors, smart windows, sophisticated drug pills and eventually even human organs.
The center, located near the HU’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology on the Givat Ram campus, will function as a central “printing lab” that provides HU researchers with access to the printing technologies and infrastructure needed to perform high-level research in this field. The equipment includes technologies such as inkjet printing, digital-light processing, fused deposition modeling, powder printing and laser sintering.
The center’s director ,Prof. Shlomo Magdassi, said it will be an interdisciplinary hub catering to researchers and students from across the university’s scientific disciplines.
In addition to chemists and physicists already in the field, researchers from biology, medicine, agriculture and computer science will be invited to move into this sphere.
“By encouraging scientific collaborations between researchers from different disciplines, I expect we will see new breakthroughs based on their synergistic expertise,” he said.
Magdassi focuses on materials science and nanotechnology research. His licensed inventions include conductive inks composed of nanoparticles for printed circuit boards; glassjet inks for printing on windows; black coatings for solar energy harvesting; and transparent conductors for printing touch screens.
So far, HU research in the field has yielded many scientific papers and led to the establishment of a number of companies.
“We hope to break new ground in various disciplines and integrate 3D and functional printing into various industrial manufacturing processes, such as in printed electronics, food, medical implants, vehicles, security and even architecture and the construction of buildings,” Magdassi concluded.