ID: 2018-006 Optical Trap 3D Printing can be used to selectively print items, in-situ, on existing surfaces in any orientation and can do so without the need to immerse that surface in liquid.
Principal Investigator: Greg Nordin
The invention consists in additive and subtractive manufacturing with optical traps. The printer may not need a surface at all as 3D prints may be assembled in air. Structures that would normally require supports (using extrusion or SLA printers) may be printed without supports using optical. The size of prints may be larger than the printer itself. Trapped particle could be any phase (solid, liquid, gas, plasma). Several trapped particles may be added to the print simultaneously. Composite may be printed in one step. Full color items may be printed in one step also.
Extrusion printers and STL printers must print in layers. Optical trap printers (OTPs) can print non-layer geometries. This layering limitation along with the need for undesirable, sacrificial support structures is an impediment to the 3D printing of tissue scaffolding.
Optical trap 3D printing could operate in a number of advantageous ways. Trapped particles could be printed in a localized region without disturbing the surrounded area. For example a conductive wirebond or wire bridge structure could be printed on a wafer die without immersing the whole chip in a conductive printing material. Furthermore the printing volume would be determined by the scan volume not the size of the printer so the print volume could be larger than the printer itself.
Because the optical trapped material can access any region accessible by light, the printed structure could be printed horizontally on a vertical surface. The print could be printed in any orientation on any available surface or directly in air with no base surface at all.
Optical Trap 3D Printing technology works together with invention #2018-026 Optical Rectification and Difference Frequency Generation of Electromagnetic radiation using Liquid Crystals. This invention opens a whole range of possibilities including the ability to turn on or off the radiation generation capabilities, and the ability to spatially and temporally pattern the radiation generation through the use of array liquid crystal configurations.
Liquid crystals have been known and used in a variety of technologies for a long time. But never before have they been used as nonlinear optical materials for optical rectification and difference frequency generation. To use liquid crystals in this way, a variety of alignment strategies can be employed to appropriately align the liquid crystal molecules.
For more information, contact Mike Alder (801-422-3049)
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