Rapid 3D Printing

Highest throughput 3D printer is the future of manufacturing

Credit: Mirkin Group

IIN researchers have developed a new, futuristic 3D printer that is so big and so fast it can print an object the size of an adult human in just a couple of hours.

Called HARP (high-area rapid printing), the new technology enables a record-breaking throughput that can manufacture products on demand. HARP uses a new, patent-pending version of stereolithography, a type of 3D printing that converts liquid plastic into solid objects. HARP prints vertically and uses projected ultraviolet light to cure the liquid resins into hardened plastic.

This process can print pieces that are hard, elastic or even ceramic. These continually printed parts are mechanically robust as opposed to the laminated structures common to other 3D-printing technologies. They can be used as parts for cars, airplanes, dentistry, orthotics, fashion and much more.

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Synthetic Melanin

Protection from radiation and toxins, inspired by nature

Credit: Gianneschi Group

Melanin is found in most organisms across the plant and animal kingdoms, as well as in bacteria and fungi. Though best known for pigmentation, melanin also provides valuable protection from radiation.

Unwanted exposure to radiation occurs during many common activities, from air travel to X-ray diagnosis and clinical radiation therapy. It’s an even greater consideration in extreme cases such as a nuclear reactor malfunction or human space travel.

IIN researchers have synthesized forms of melanin for use as a lightweight shield against harmful radiation or a breathable, protective coating for uniforms that catches undesirable toxins while letting air, water, and nutrients through. It has even inspired new, non-allergenic hair dye.

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