APR 19, 2019 3:25 PM PDT

3D Printing Glass

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

In a study published in Optical Materials Express, researchers have developed a new method for programming a commercially available 3D printer for glass extrusion. The development has allowed them to 3D print chalcogenide glass for the first time. Chalcogenide glass is material that softens at a relatively low temperature compared to other glass and can be used to craft optical components—3D printing will make it possible to manufacture complex glass components and optical fibers and advance low-cost sensors, telecommunications components and biomedical devices.

"3D printing of optical materials will pave the way for a new era of designing and combining materials to produce the photonic components and fibers of the future," said Yannick Ledemi, a member of the research team. "This new method could potentially result in a breakthrough for efficient manufacturing of infrared optical components at a low cost."

The novel method was used to alter the 3D printing machine for the production of two samples with complex shapes and dimensions.

"Our approach is very well suited for soft chalcogenide glass, but alternative approaches are also being explored to print other types of glass," said Ledemi. "This could allow fabrication of components made of multiple materials. Glass could also be combined with polymers with specialized electro-conductive or optical properties to produce multi-functional 3D printed devices."

Researchers demonstrated 3D printing of chalcogenide glass, which can be used to make optical components that operate at mid-infrared wavelengths. This 3D printed glass sample is 14 millimeters long. Credit: Steeve Morency, Université Laval

Scientists are now hopeful to advance their methodology for the inexpensive manufacturing of complex parts. They are looking forward to adding add new extruders to enable co-printing with polymers.

"3D printed chalcogenide-based components would be useful for infrared thermal imaging for defense and security applications," continued Ledemi. "They would also enable sensors for pollutant monitoring, biomedicine and other applications where the infrared chemical signature of molecules is used for detection and diagnosis."

Source: The Optical Society

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
APR 27, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
No Batteries: Health Sensor Harvests Biomechanical Energy
APR 27, 2021
No Batteries: Health Sensor Harvests Biomechanical Energy
An international team of researchers has developed a wearable health monitor that works without the need for batteries. ...
JUN 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Improving the Accuracy of Space Weather Predictions
JUN 08, 2021
Improving the Accuracy of Space Weather Predictions
When magnetized plasma is released from the surface of the sun in a phenomenon known as coronal mass ejections, they can ...
JUN 16, 2021
Technology
Online App Increases Health Literacy and Reduces Vaccine Hesitancy in Incarcerated Women
JUN 16, 2021
Online App Increases Health Literacy and Reduces Vaccine Hesitancy in Incarcerated Women
Many women released from prison are returning to communities hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, communities that also fa ...
JUL 09, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Wearable Tech for...Plants?
JUL 09, 2021
Wearable Tech for...Plants?
Researchers have developed a "wearable" patch to detect the gaseous substances plants emit when diseased or stressed,
JUL 20, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Wearable Health Monitors Powered by Sweaty Fingertips
JUL 20, 2021
Wearable Health Monitors Powered by Sweaty Fingertips
Fingertips have thousands of sweat-producing glands, churning out anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times more sweat than other ...
JUL 22, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Telescope Riding a Balloon Could Replace Hubble
JUL 22, 2021
Telescope Riding a Balloon Could Replace Hubble
The Earth's atmosphere often muffles views from ground-based telescopes when observing space. Now, a research c ...
Loading Comments...