Physicists at Leiden University in the Netherlands were able to print the smallest boat in the world.
The design is called Benchy and is only 30 microns long, one third less than the thickness of human hair.
Scientists note that this was done mainly for fun, but it will also help establish how different microorganisms, including bacteria, can move through different liquids.
The researchers used a commercial Nanoscribe 3D micro-printer to print the object.
The printing process is called two-photon polymerisation or 2PP – three-dimensional prints are created inside the droplet with a material that is shaped and strong through accurate Lasers.
“By driving the laser through the droplet, we can create any shape we want. Since the printing takes place inside the droplet and we print layer by layer, we can even create small open spaces,” notes researcher Daniela Kraft.
The boat’s printing did not end here, in addition to it, other forms were created, including a spiral with a diameter of 5 microns. With its help, scientists will be able to measure the speed of movement of various particles.
This 3D printing technology opens up many possibilities for creating very specific shapes to emulate biological objects or optimize their movement through liquids.
“Ultimately, this will allow for better control and design of the behavior of many objects and substances,” added the scientists.