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  Latest News  
  July 29, 2004  


  Opera House In Miniature
Scientists create a micrometer-sized version of a famous architectural landmark

It took 14 years to construct Australia’s iconic Sydney Opera House, but it took only about three hours for Australian scientists to fabricate a micrometer-sized model (shown) of the building out of a hybrid organic-inorganic polymer.

Martin Straub and coworkers at Swinburne University of Technology’s Center for Microphotonics built the opera house’s diminutive doppelgänger using a two-photon photopolymerization process. The team focuses ultrashort, pulsed visible light into a mixture of commercially available polysiloxane oligomers functionalized with acrylate groups and a photoinitiator. Wherever the light is focused, the polymer cross-links and solidifies upon absorbing two photons simultaneously.

Once the desired structure has been fashioned, the remaining liquid material is washed away. Computer-aided design and manufacturing allows the researchers to make all manner of microstructures, some even smaller than a human cell. A report of the Swinburne group’s work will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Optical Materials.
  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2004

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