CUHK's Faculty of Engineering has won the prestigious 2018 R&D 100 Award for the development of its digital holography-based 3D Nano-Builder technology.
The 3-D Nano-Builder is capable of 3D printing micro- and nano-scale components with complex structures at a high speed for rapid prototyping.
The invention has particular applications in areas including printing photonic, robotic, metamaterials, micro-scaffolds, and drug delivery devices.
The Nano-Builder employs a random-access scanning method to allow tens of thousands of laser foci to simultaneously write structures at high speeds. Unlike existing point scanning based 3D printers, each focal point can be independently controlled to follow any planned trajectory in space.
Due to the Nano-Builder's modular design and extendibility, the system can easily be turned into a high performance two-photon excitation microscope capable of simultaneous real-time imaging and multi-point optical stimulation.
This will allow for applications such as precisely stimulating target cells – such as those in mouse brains - without affecting surrounding cells, while simultaneously generating optical cross-sectional images of the result of this stimulation on cells.
The R&D 100 Award was awarded to the developers of the Nano-Builder, the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering's professor Shih-Chi Chen and his team. The awards, which have been named the “Oscars of invention”, seek to celebrate the top technology products of the year around the world.