Through a collaboration with another Israeli company, biotechnology firmAccellta of Haifa, Nano Dimension has been able to mix human stem cells into its 3D printer ink. When expelled through the more than 1, 000 tiny nozzles of a Nano Dimension DragonFly 3D printer, the ink can form into human tissue.

While the technology is still at the proof-of-concept stage – and going from simple tissue to a full organ is a daunting and uncharted process – the possibilities for saving lives by “printing” a new liver or lung are staggering.

CEO Amit Dror stressed that Nano Dimension is not the only company to offer biotech printing. The difference is the speed and print resolution.

“No one else is using inkjet technology, ” Dror told ISRAEL21c. “We’re the first to do it really fast and really accurately.”

Before Nano Dimensions teamed up with Accellta, printing even a very small tissue would take overnight under careful lab conditions and was used mainly for research.

“We showed how the same thing can be achieved in a few seconds, ” Dror explained. “That means this could eventually go into commercial use” – such as in a hospital during emergency surgery or for testing new pharmaceuticals on living tissue.

 

Nano printing pioneer

Nano Dimension’s breakthrough is a somewhat serendipitous detour from its main business, which is printing PCBs – the printed circuit boards that go into everything from cell phones to smart refrigerators. As its name suggestions, Nano Dimension uses nanotechnology to print the metal part of a circuit board using “ink” in which tiny silver particles are suspended.

Silver melts only at a temperature of 961.8 degrees Celsius – too hot for a printer – but when it’s taken down to the nano level, it can remain liquefied at between 100 and 200 Celsius, Dror said. Once it’s printed, the silver cools down and the PCB is ready.

3D-printed PCBs probably aren’t in your laptop computer. “It’s not for mass market production but more for prototyping, ” Dror explained. Nano Dimension is the only 3D printer company today that focuses on PCB production.