In late 2018, MIT revealed a new technique that could shrink 3-D objects by 1,000 times.
While this exciting technique may sound like something straight out of science fiction, it is a practical technique that could lead to a vast number of future applications in robotics, medical research and many other fields.
MIT researchers made their breakthrough using a technique called “Implosion Fabrication”.
The procedure involves the use of laser light to determine and bind anchor points of the target object’s
3-D structure with the gel. Then acid is added to the gel, making it shrink, and when the gel shrinks, the size of the object in all of its three dimensions: width, height and length, shrinks in the process.
This Implosion Fabrication technique enables researchers to create nanoscale objects quickly and easily, simply by using equipment already available in most labs. It could be applied with a variety of materials such as metal, quantum dot, a piece of DNA, or plastic and polymer. This breakthrough marks an exciting milestone, as researchers around the world embark on new territory where nanoscale object creation is no longer a challenge.
So why does creating nanoscale objects matter? It matters because nanoscale objects are in high demand across many industries. For example, it could produce nanoscale robots that could travel inside our bodies to examine our reaction to medicine, examine our bodily functions, or act as an assistant to the surgeon. Moreover, it could also help us create more advanced types of medicine. With its nanoscale size replicating DNA structure, it could be programmed to activate as it approaches a target cancer cell. In addition, it could also be used to manufacture nanoscale electronics parts, such as processing units and imaging lens, which will improve the quality of our electronics devices.
The researcher who invented the new Implosion Fabrication technique believes that it will pioneer nanoscale innovation and open new windows of opportunities. In the future, this technique may be commonly used in labs, educational institutions, or even our households, given the simplicity of its procedure and required equipment, and the toxic free nature of the technique itself. Once the accessibility of this technique becomes mainstream, it is likely that we will see numerous nanoscale innovations with applications beyond our wildest dreams.