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3D printing is gaining importance, as it allows for the efficient manufacture of complex geometries. A very promising method is direct laser writing: a computer-controlled focused laser beam acts as a pen and produces the desired structure in a photoresist. In this way, three-dimensional structures with details in the sub-micrometer range can be produced. "The high resolution is very attractive for applications requiring very precise filigree structures, such as in biomedicine, microfluidics, microelectronics or for optical metamaterials," say Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik, Head of the Macromolecular Architectures Group of KIT's Institute for Chemical Technology and Polymer Chemistry (ITCP) and of the Soft Matter Materials Group of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, and Dr. Eva Blasco of the ITCP of KIT. Over a year ago, KIT researchers already succeeded in expanding the possibilities of direct laser writing: the working groups of Professor Martin Wegener at the Institute of Applied Physics (APH) and the Institute of Nanotechnology (INT) of KIT and of Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik developed an erasable ink for 3D printing. Thanks to reversible binding, the building blocks of the ink can be separated again.
Now, the scientists...
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