Scientists Create Smallest Lattice Structure Ever

By: | February 12th, 2016

Image courtesy KIT

A team of scientists from Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) in Germany has created the smallest lattice structure yet produced.

This smallest lattice structure is visible only under a microscope. Usually, microstructures such as this are used in insulation or for shock absorption. However, as per scientists, this new lattice structure could also be used in electrodes, filters, or optical components.

How This Lattice Structure Was Produced

The structure was produced using existing 3D laser lithography technology and then hardening it in a photoresist by laser beams in a computer-controlled manner.

After that, the structure was shrunk and vitrified by pyrolysis. The structure was then exposed to temperatures of around 900°C in a vacuum furnace, in which all elements but carbon escape as the chemical bonds reorient themselves. The unordered carbon remains in the shrunk lattice structure in the form of glassy carbon.

Here are Some of Its Incredible Features:

  • Its struts and braces are made of glassy carbon and are less than 1 µm long and 200 nm in diameter.
  • This structure is five times smaller than comparable nanomaterials
  • This 3D lattice structure has higher specific strength than most solids. The small dimension features an unparalleled strength-to-density ratio.
  • Described in the latest edition of Nature Materials, “Lightweight construction materials, such as bones and wood, are found everywhere in nature,” Dr.-Ing. Jens Bauer of KIT, the first author of the study, explains. “They have a high load-bearing capacity and small weight and, hence, serve as models for mechanical metamaterials for technical applications.”
  • According to study co-author Oliver Kraft “Diamond is the only solid having a higher specific stability.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. You can also find Nidhi on Google+.

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