World’s first nano 3D printer developed by KERI team

December 18, 2014
Seol Seung-kwon, a senior researcher at Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute's Nano Hybrid Technology Research Center, speaks about the 3D nano printing technology that his team succeeded in developing for the first time in the world at the institute's research facility in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, Thursday.  (Courtesy of Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute)

Seol Seung-kwon, a senior researcher at
Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute’s Nano Hybrid Technology Research Center, speaks about the 3D nano printing technology that his team succeeded in developing for the first time in the world at the institute’s research facility in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, Thursday.
(Courtesy of
Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute)

By Yoon Sung-won

Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI) said Thursday it has developed a technology that enables the use of nano element “graphene” for 3D printing for the first time in the world.

KERI, a unit under the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, said that the new technology will significantly improve the manufacture of flexible and wearable devices.

“The 3D nano printing technology will make it possible to produce 3D objects using various materials, including metal, plastic and graphene, compared to the existing 3D printers that only use plastic as material,” said Seol Seung-kwon, a senior researcher at KERI’s Nano Hybrid Technology Research Center. “This technology can be applied to diverse industrial segments. In particular, it is anticipated to set a new paradigm in the printed electronics segment, which has lacked core technology so far.”

The printed electronics technology is used for manufacturing digital devices such as smartphones, digital cameras and display panels, as well as flexible devices including electronics paper and flexible chemical sensors.

Though 3D printing technology has been a feature in the printed electronics segment already, the current technology level remained with producing simple objects and had difficulties in manufacturing sophisticated electronic devices at the nano level.

The KERI research team said the new 3D nano printer is capable of controlling its injection nozzle with supreme precision, monitoring the printing process in high definition video and thus manufacturing nanometer-level objects.

The institute said the nano objects produced with graphene, a nano-level element that consists of carbon atoms, is highly conductive, chemically and structurally stable and durable.

These features mean that the new 3D nano printers may produce smart devices such as flexible and wearable electronics goods.

KERI said it has applied for the patent for this technology and will proceed with follow-up research with cooperation from related industries.

It also plans to transfer the technology to the private sector to commercialize the 3D nano printer products as soon as possible.

“Currently we have developed the core technology for the 3D nano printing and expect that we need three years for the follow-up research required to commercialize the technology,” Seol said.

The research was introduced to the global material-sector academic journal Advanced Materials on Nov. 13, as well as a U.S. science web portal Nanowerk, KERI said.

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