Rapid 3D printing in water developed at Hebrew University

The technology could lead to personalized creation of artificial body parts.

(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Speedy 3D printing technology using novel hybrid nanoparticles and water – which could benefit old and new industries including printing artificial organs – has been developed by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.
The new process involves using semiconductor-metal hybrid nanoparticles (HNPs) known as photoinitiators for 3D printing in water.
Photoinitiators are the molecules that induce chemical reactions necessary to form solid printed material by light. These novel nanoparticles could allow for the creation of bio-friendly 3D printed structures, further the development of biomedical accessories and promote progress in traditional industries such as plastics.
3D printing has become an important tool for fabricating different organic based materials for a variety of industries, wrote Prof. Uri Banin and Prof.
Shlomo Magdassi of the chemistry institute in Nano Letters. But printing structures in water has always been challenging due to a lack of water soluble molecules.
Printing in water opens exciting opportunities in the biomedical arena for tailored fabrication of medical devices and for printing scaffolds for tissue engineering, they said. For example, the researchers envision personalized fabrication of joint replacements, bone plates, heart valves, artificial tendons and ligaments and other artificial organ replacements.
3D printing in water also offers an environmentally friendly approach to additive manufacturing, which could replace the current technology of printing in organic based inks.
Unlike regular photoinitiators, the novel hybrid nanoparticles developed by Banin and Magdassi present tunable properties, a wide excitation window in the UV and visible range, high light sensitivity and function by a photocatalytic mechanism that increases printing efficiency while reducing the amount of materials required to create the final product. The whole process can also be used in advanced polymerization modalities, such as two photon printers, which allows it to produce high resolution features.
The research paper was featured in the American Chemical Society’s Editor’s Choice, where it offers free public access to research of importance to the global scientific community, based on recommendations by the scientific editors of ACS journals from around the world.