Another 3D Printing World Record!

Nanodrip: 3D Printed Photo Fits On The Diameter Of A Hair


The World Record for the smallest inkjet-printed colour image has been awarded to ETH Zurich and their spin off company Scrona Ltd. by Guinness World Records Limited. 

The picture measures at 0.0092 mm, or 80 µm x 115 µm, in size and is about the same size as the cross-sectional area of a typical human hair or a single pixel on a retina display.

Of course, this means it is completely invisible to the naked eye and, although this picture may not be one to hang up on your wall, the technology behind it, called 3D NanoDrip, is extremely impressive and brand new.

In order to see the image of a pair of colorful clownfish in front of a cluster of sea anemones, the judges needed to use a special miniature microscope called the µPeek.

Scrona is currently using a Kickstarter campaign to launch this miniature microscope which is a credit card sized device that will wirelessly connect with your smartphone. Via Kickstarter they offer copies of the true-to-life micro-image, but instead of clown fishes they print the personal content provided by the buyers. This offer is open until 9th of January when their campaign ends.

How Does NanoDrip Technology Work?

This technology was invented by ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich), a Switzerland-based engineering, science, technology and mathematics university and it is currently being commercialized by Scrona.

The picture is incredibly detailed and in order to do this individually coloured quantum-dots (QDs) were deposited in precise patterns thatÆs similar to how an inkjet printer combines colour inks.

In order to achieve specific colours, each QD nanoparticle can be programmed and these can then be combined together to make an almost unlimited number of colour shades and variations.

Each QD needed to be printed with a resolution of incredible 25,000 DPI in order to depict an image – this is an inter-pixel distance of about 500 nanometers. And in order to recreate the image correctly, the QDs needed to be positioned with an sub-nanometer precision at each individual pixel location.

Ultimately, this isn’t a nice promotion gag… it could lead to a whole new breed of screens and optical devices.

Are you impressed by the world’s smallest picture? What do you think about the future of micro-scale manufacturing and fabrication?