Physicists create 3-D printed microboat
From prow to stern, this little boat measures 30 micrometers, about a third of the thickness of a hair. It has been 3-D-printed by Leiden physicists Rachel Doherty, Daniela Kraft and colleagues.
Kraft's research group researches microswimmers, small particles moving in fluids like water, that can be followed using a microscope. One of their goals is understanding biological microswimmers, such as bacteria.
Most research of this type is carried out on sphere shaped particles, but 3-D printing offers new possibilities, as the researchers show in this article. They also printed spiral shaped particles, which rotate along while they are propelled through water.
The microboat doesn't have a propellor. 3DBenchy is a standard 3-D design for testing 3-D-printers. The group's new Nanoscribe Photonic Professional printer has passed this test with flying colors, while establishing a new record building the smallest ship on Earth (which is even able to set sail in water).