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Microparticle Transport via Directed Particle Gun

  1. Jun 17, 2015 #1


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    Greetings PFers,
    Would it be possible to move microscopic particles of a wide range of composition (conductivity, density, etc...) using a directed beam technology? The idea is to have a fast 3D printing technology (practically no moving parts) that is capable of depositing of a wide array of materials at high resolution. I'm thinking of a configuration resembling a cathode ray tube with the particles fired downwards, impacting the part's current layer. There would be some sort of screen or membrane where the substance is dislodged by the beam and is carried to the part where it impacts and is fused.

    My primary concern is how the substance would be "carried" with the electron beam to the target location on the part. Perhaps a combination of using electrostatic attraction and the electron's momentum to transport the substance to the target.

    Perhaps using a directed alpha radiation or electron beam?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2015 #2


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    I can do you one better than electron beams (that wouldn't work - you'd basically just have to ionise your material and accelerate it). You can use lasers to trap and move particles.

    http://aip2014.org.au/cms/uploads/presentation/niko_eckerskorn.pdf [Broken]
    http://physics.anu.edu.au/laser/research/trapping.php (lots of links to papers)

    But - you can only move pico- to nano- grams of material with this method (which is more than ionising the material and making a beam). Using it for 3D printing anything macroscopic would be a bad proposition. You'd be better of just chucking material out of an aperture and using streams of air to push it around, though your resolution would suck. There are lots and lots of other applications of particle transport via laser vortices outlined in the above talk.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  4. Jun 18, 2015 #3


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    Thanks E.Bar.Goum, I appreciate your thoughts and links.
    I was worried the particle size would need to be incredibly small. At that rate, objects of any useful size would take an eternity to print. I was also hoping for a large scale application (several cubic inches).

    I don't suppose anyone can think of a way to increase particle size while maintaining deposition speed and accuracy?

    Kind regards.
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