Researchers Build World's Smallest Lattice Structure

Posted on February 2, 2016

Researchers at the Karlsruher Institute for Technology (KIT) have built the world's smallest lattice structure. The struts and braces of the lattice structure are 0.2 µm in diameter and the total size of the lattice structure is about 10 µm.

The researchers say their lattice structure is smaller than comparable metamaterials by a factor of 5. It was produced starting with a 3D laser lithography process. The structure was then shrunk by exposing it to temperatures of around 900°C in a vacuum furnace.

The researchers explain how this high temperature exposure shrinks the structure: "As a result, chemical bonds reorient themselves. Except for carbon, all elements escape from the resist. The unordered carbon remains in the shrunk lattice structure in the form of glassy carbon."

Professor Oliver Kraft, a co-author of the study, says in a statement, "According to the results, load-bearing capacity of the lattice is very close to the theoretical limit and far above that of unstructured glassy carbon. Diamond is the only solid having a higher specific stability."

A research paper on the tiny lattice structure was published here in the journal, Nature Materials.

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