Available Technologies

Browse Penn-owned technologies available for licensing.

3D-Printing at the Nanoscale


3D printing has enabled new methods of manufacturing, but most existing techniques are limited to the macro scale. A 3D printing technique for the nano-scale could be applied to problems such as creating new coatings, making nanoscale patterns, or fabricating MEMS devices.


Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have created a new technique for 3D printing at a nanoscale using tribofilm formation. A standard atomic force microscope (AFM) probe is used as a scriber in a liquid environment. A nanoparticle "ink" dispersed in this liquid will form a tribofilm at the contact surface when the scriber is brought in contact with the substrate. Highly controlled 3D patterns can be built up using this technique. The researchers have demonstrated lines with widths and out-of-plane height varying between 10nm-100nm. This new technique opens up many possibilities for additive manufacturing at the nanoscale.


  • Nanoscale patterning without masks or resists
  • Uses standard AFM equipment
  • Can be used for fabricating new MEMS/NEMS devices


  • Micro/Nano electromechanical systems
  • Coatings, semiconductor devices

Stage of Development: 

Proof of concept

Intellectual Property: 

Provisional Pending 

Desired Partnerships: 

  • License
  • Co-development

Patent Information:


Docket # 16-7624

For Information, Contact:

Pamela Beatrice Director, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania