Vishal Gulati

This Chemistry 3D Printer Can Synthesize Molecules From Scratch

March 15, 2015

We live in interesting times. For years, we have been able to print 2D things on demand but with the recent advent of 3D printing (and with prices of 3D printers falling below a $1000)the prospect of just being able to make physical things on demand, in a distributed manner could do to manufacturing industry what the web did to the publishing industry.

There is another dimension to it though. A lot of ‘things’ we use are chemicals (think of the medicines you take, glue you use, coolant in your radiator etc.) and the principle of using simple and standard building blocks run via a complex machine can produce a wide range of chemicals.

Martin Burke of Illinois State University claims to manufacture thousands of different chemicals in 14 distinct classes of small molecules, including known medicines to several molecules used in LEDs and solar cells. It takes only a few hours to make them.

Wake up with a headache, download recipe of paracetamol on your phone, push it to this machine and hey presto, you have the medicine (a few hours later so maybe it will get better and you won’t have to even take it).


Need an obscure medicinal compound found only in a jungle plant? Just print it

Source: This Chemistry 3D Printer Can Synthesize Molecules From Scratch