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A 3D-printing technique has been developed that can produce millimetre- to centimetre-scale objects with micrometre-scale features. It relies on chemical reactions triggered by the intersection of two light beams.
In the Star Trek universe, devices called replicators can manifest solid matter in seconds. Thanks to advances in materials science, these science-fiction devices might be closer to reality than we think. A type of 3D printing called volumetric additive manufacturing (VAM) uses light to rapidly solidify an object in a volume of a liquid precursor. Writing in Nature, Regehly et al.1 report an advance in VAM that allows solid objects to be printed with a feature resolution of up to 25 micrometres and a solidification rate of up to 55 cubic millimetres per second. The authors call this process xolography because it uses two crossing (x) light beams of different wavelengths to solidify a whole object (holos is the Greek word for whole).