Updated:10/26/2020 8:05 p.m.
The scientists of the University of Leiden (Holland) Rachel Doherty Y Daniela Kraft have managed to break a record: they have built the smallest ship in the world, which only measures 30 micrometers or, more or less, a third the thickness of a hair. Physicists have achieved this feat thanks to a sophisticated 3D printer. The image of the ship was obtained thanks to the help of an electron microscope.
The Kraft and Doherty research group investigates the micro swimmers, small particles that move in fluids like water and are only visible through the microscope. Specifically, its objective is to understand biological microfluidics, such as bacteria, to understand their behavior and be able to transfer it to other artificial micro-swimmers, which can help in fields as diverse as microfluidics, mining or medicine, transporting, for example, very specific medication in the body of patients.
Most of the research of this type is carried out on sphere-shaped particlesBut 3D printing offers new possibilities, as the researchers show in the article they just published in « Soft Matter». They also printed spiral-shaped particles, which spin as they are propelled through the water.
The micro-boat, called the “3DBenchy,” does not have a propeller, although it can set sail in the water with an external impulse. As the researchers explain, “3DBenchy is a standard 3D design for testing 3D printers.”
Creating miniature designs is not a hobby without any application; Unlike. These tiny artifacts serve to demonstrate that technology advances and that objects can be built on such a small and precise scale that they can serve as a vehicle for future medical treatments. From tiny houses where a dust mite can’t even live to Christmas cards where you have to use an electron microscope to see the sender, these tests are the foundation of the incredible technology yet to come.