A few days back, the research at Harvard concluded that printing can be done using sound. This printing, known to be acoustophoretic printing, will help in the manfucaturing of cosmetics, food and biopharmaceuticals.
Acoustophoretic printing will help to print biological materials and living cells. The printer is still in the experimental phase of the process, Harvard scientists have promised significant progress in the creation of a sound field which can help to pull different viscous substances including liquid metal and honey.
The inkjet printers work dependent on the viscosity of the liquid ie, ink. The more the viscosity of liquid the more time it will take to form a droplet by the gravity pull. Inkjet printers use the droplet method to transfer the liquid to the medium.
Acoustophoretic printing has kicked out viscosity from the picture. This printing is not dependent on the material properties of the liquid to be used.
A research associate from Harvard, Daniele Foresti says, “Our goal was to take viscosity out of the picture by developing a printing system that is independent of the material properties of the fluid.”
Foresti and his fellow researchers designed a subwavelength acoustic resonator which develops strictly controlled acoustic fields which effectively improves the relative gravity at the printing nozzle.
The size of the droplet is dependent on the amplitude of the soundwave.
Foresti says, “The idea is to generate an acoustic field that literally detaches tiny droplets from the nozzle, much like picking apples from a tree.”
A professor from Harvard, Dr. Jennifer Lewis, stated, “Our technology should have immediate impact on the pharmaceutical industry. However, we believe that this will become an important platform for multiple industries.”
To test the acoustophoretic printing, different kinds of liquid have been used including stem-cell inks, honey, biopolymers, liquid metals and optical resins.
To know more, you can watch this video: