Manufacturing Ideas to Watch – Issue 1 (May 2017)

Here are the inaugural Manufacturing Ideas to Watch: Optical Tweezers, Bioprinted Tissues, Cold Sintering Process (CSP), and the 2-Dimensional Crystal Consortium. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment!

Image source:
Flexible Research Group

Optical-tweezers-based Additive Fabrication is being explored to enable the rapid additive fabrication of 3D microarchitectures and nanostructures that consist of tiny particles of various shapes (e.g., spheres, wires, and flecks) and materials (e.g., metals, ceramics, and polymers), which are simultaneously and individually moved, positioned, and joined together using a multiplicity of coordinated optical traps (i.e., focused laser light that induces stable trapping forces on tiny objects). The ability to manipulate tiny particles in this way can enable the creation of advanced microarchitectured materials which could be useful in many fields including civil engineering, electrical engineering, computing, and more.
-Jonathan Hopkins, UCLA

Image of a 3D printer working on an item
Image source:
Harvard Magazine

Bioprinted Tissues can offer a more precise platform for modeling disease and screening new drugs. 3D printers use a special hydrogel ink to print channels for tissue vasculature, then cells are injected to line the walls. This technology is a stepping stone toward realizing the dream of 3D printed organs.
-Jennifer Lewis, Harvard University

Computer rendering of cold sintering process
Schematic art: Jenn McCann.
Image source:
Penn State News

Cold Sintering Process (CSP) opens a window on the ability to combine incompatible materials, such as ceramics and plastics, into new, useful compound materials, and to lower the energy cost of many types of manufacturing. This process allows stronger materials to be created at lower temperatures which reduces the cost of production. The end result is better materials for use in architecture, biomedical implants, and many types of electronic components.
-Clive Randall, Penn State University

Diagrams of the nanoporous stamps process
Image source: 2D Crystal Consortium

The 2D Crystal Consortium – Materials Innovation Platform (2DCC-MIP) is focused on the development of two dimensional (2D) chalcogenides for applications in next generation electronics beyond silicon for digital circuits and flexible electronics. These materials include films that are only a few atoms thick, films that only conduct on the 2D surface, and multilayers of films whose properties are dominated by 2D interfaces. These new materials can be used to improve computing, displays, and communication.
-Joan Redwing, Penn State University (National Science Foundation cooperative agreement DMR-1539916)


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