3D Printed Microboat smaller than the Thickness of a Hair

This 3D-printed microboat from bow to stern, measures just 30 micrometers, a few third of the thickness of a hair.

The tiny boat has been 3D-printed by Leiden physicists Rachel Doherty, Daniela Kraft and colleagues and the picture was made utilizing an electron microscope.



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 3D 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.

3D Printed Microboat smaller than the Thickness of a Hair

The microboat doesn’t have a propellor. 3DBenchy is a standard 3D design for testing 3D-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).



The image can be found in their article about 3D printing synthetic microswimmers in the scientific journal Soft Matter.

Image credit Leiden University

source Leiden University