Perspective3D Printing

Printing nanomaterials in shrinking gels

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  14 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6420, pp. 1244-1245
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav5712

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


The creation of nanoscale electronics, photonics, plasmonics, and mechanically robust metamaterials will benefit from nanofabrication processes that allow a designer full control in manipulating nanomaterial precursors in a programmable and volumetric manner. Despite decades of research, it remains challenging to design nanofabrication processes that can produce complex free-form three-dimensional (3D) objects at the scale of tens of nanometers. On page 1281 of this issue, Oran et al. (1) report on the photopatterning of reactive sites into water-swollen, chemically cross-linked acrylic gels for the subsequent site-specific deposition of nanomaterials and nanoparticles. After chemical and thermal dehydration, the gel scaffold holds the nanomaterials in a distinct 3D arrangement. This process, termed implosion fabrication (ImpFab) because the scaffold of the gel effectively “implodes” upon solvent removal, provides an opportunity to fabricate centimeter-scale assemblies of nanomaterials that possess multiple functionalities.