Jonty Hurwitz 3D printed nano sculptures at the same scale as a human sperm
Artist Jonty Hurwitz has created so far the most detailed nano-sculptures with 3D printing and a technique called "Multi-Photon Lithography". Similar to standard photolithography techniques, multiphoton lithography is a technique for creating small features in a photosensitive material.
On his website Hurwitz describes the process:
Ultimately these works are created using the physical phenomenon of two photon absorption. Art, literally created with Quantum Physics.
If you illuminate a light-sensitive polymer with Ultra Violet wavelengths, it solidifies wherever it was irradiated in a kind of crude lump. Some of you may have experienced a polymer like this first hand at the dentist when your filling is glued in with a UV light.
If however you use longer wavelength intense light, and focus it tightly through a microscope, something wonderful happens: at the focus point, the polymer absorbs TWO PHOTONS and responds as if it had been illuminated by UV light, namely it will solidify. This two photon absorption occurs only at the tiny focal point – basically a tiny 3D pixel (called a Voxel). The sculpture is then moved along fractionally by a computer controlled process and the next pixel is created. Slowly, over hours and hours the entire sculpture is assembled pixel by pixel and layer by layer.
How small is "nano?" In the International System of Units, the prefix "nano" means one-billionth, or 10-9; therefore one nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. So a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers (100 microns) thick. And these sculptures approximately equals the amount your fingernails grow every 5 or 6 hours, explains Hurwitz.
Therefore the human eye is unable to see these sculptures, and the only way to perceive these works is on the screen of powerful scanning electron microscope.
In collaboration with The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Weitzmann Institute of Science, a team of over 10 people have been working on creating these sculptures for several months.
"As technology starts to evolve faster than our human perception is able to handle, the line between science and myth becomes blurred.
We live in an era where the impossible has finally come to pass. We have, in our own little way we have become demigods of creation in our physical world…. The nano works that I present to you here represent more that just a feat of science though. They represent the moment in history that we ourselves are able to create a full human form at the same scale as the sperm that creates us in order to facilitate the creation."