For some researchers 3D printing is limited to electronic devices. Researchers at Princeton University have gone beyond the limitations by using 3D printing to create an entire contact lens with LEDS embedded into it.
For the contact lens to function, it would need an external energy sources which is obviously impractical in today’s world where only fully functioning devices are widespread. The Princeton team, however, created the contact lens with an entirely different aim in mind. It wanted to show that it is actually possible to create electronic devices which have complex shapes with the help of equally complex materials.
Michael McAlpine, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, in a press release said that the team basically wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to use 3D printing in creating the most complex electronics including semiconductors. He says that if we are able to 3D print and entire pieces of gadget, why not use it for more useful purposes that earlier looked like an unachievable feat.
World’s First 3D Printed LED Contact Lens
The LED is made using extraordinary and exotic nanoparticles called quantum dots. These quantum dots are basically nanocrystals that have been designed out of semiconductor materials and have unique optoelectronic properties, remarkably fluorescence, which makes them relevant for the LEDs of the contact lens.
The team used quantum dots (nanoparticles) and was thus, able to create two different colors – orange and green.
This most recent work by the Princeton group of researchers whose previous work includes producing a bionic ear using 3D printing. The research once again was aimed at demonstrating how electronics and biomedical devices could be consolidated using 3D printing.
In the most recent research which was published by the journal Nano Letters, the basic aim was to demonstrate that active electronics can also be printed using different materials.
To meet this test, the researchers created a hybrid 3D printer that is a blend of off-the-shelf parts and others some more exotic.
While the researchers yield that the 3D printing of gadgets along these lines is not pertinent for a considerable measure of hardware assembling in which different duplicates need to be created with a high unwavering quality, it may bode well for bespoke applications, for example, those required for medical devices.
For this situation, scientists checked the lens and after that molded the geometry into the printer so it that it could print a LED that complied with the state of the lens.
The real challenge for the scientists was the way to unite diverse materials that may be mechanically, synthetically or thermally contrary.
“For example, it is not trivial to pattern a thin and uniform coating of nanoparticles and polymers without the involvement of conventional microfabrication techniques, yet the thickness and uniformity of the printed films are two of the critical parameters that determine the performance and yield of the printed active device,” said Yong Lin Kong, a researcher who worked on both the bionic ear and contact lens projects, in a press release.