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3D Printing to Get Faster and Cheaper, Scientists Say

Recently, some scientists have developed a faster and also very cost-valuable 3D printing ways which can usually be used to print objects in almost all the colors. According to the study which is published in the journal Nano Letters people are exploring the use of 3D printing for very wide-ranging applications including manufacturing, fashion, medical devices, and even food. However, a most proficient form of the 3D printing will endure from major drawbacks: as it can only print those objects which are black or grey.

Currently, The Institute of Photonic Sciences (IFCO) in Spain researchers has tweaked the way so it can easily print in colors of the rainbow. The selective laser sintering (SLS) printers use a laser technique to heat some precise regions of powdered material, usually, nylon or polyamide, so that powder melts or sinters to outline a solid mass.

However, the printer then selectively sinters some new powdered material layer by layer until it obtained the preferred 3D structure. To diminish the energy requirements of the process, some researchers have added compounds which are called as the photosensitizers to the polymer powders. And these materials, such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, and carbon black absorb light which is much stronger than the polymers and also the transferred heat to them, and also enabling the use of cheaper, lower-power lasers.

Photosensitizes only Print Black and Grey in Colors

Alternatively, the carbon-based photosensitizers will only produce all the printed objects which are grey or black. Gerasimos Konstantatos, Romain Quidant and their colleagues at IFCO required finding a photosensitizer which would also help in enabling the color printing by the SLS technique. Presently, some researchers designed the gold nanorods for strongly absorbing in the near-infrared region of the spectrum while almost being transparent to visible lights.

They tried to coat them with the silica and then mixed them with the polyamide powders to successfully print 3D objects. But after doing that they found that the gold nanorods were much enhanced at changing the light from the laser to heat than in the carbon black. While the newest photosensitizers could produce much whiter and it also mixed with dyes intensely colored 3D objects. Significantly, all the materials are very much cost-effective for the large-scale production.