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Selective laser sintering (SLS), a process that uses a laser to heat powder materials to the point where the micron-scale particles fuse together to form a solid mass, is one of the most widely used additive manufacturing processes today. Until now, SLS technologies have been limited to printing with one material at a time.
To enable printing with multiple materials using SLS, researchers at Columbia University have literally turned the process upside down. They have inverted the laser so that it points upward instead of downward into the heated print bed and have eliminated the need for a powder bed.
Laser beam transmitting upward through glass. Courtesy of John Whitehead/Columbia Engineering.
The researchers set up…