3D Matter Made to Order

Cluster of Excellence of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) & Heidelberg University

3D Additive Manufacturing Driven Towards the Molecular Scale

The Cluster of Excellence is a collaboration of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Heidelberg University (Uni HD). It pursues an interdisciplinary approach through conjunction of natural, engineering, and social sciences. 3DMM2O establishes scalable digital 3D Additive Manufacturing transcending from the molecular to the macroscopic scale.

This approach converts digital information into functional materials, devices and systems “made to order.” 3DMM2O creates a powerful technology push and pull by treating molecular materials, technologies and applications as indissolubly intertwined.

On the technology side, the scientific challenges are “finer, faster, and more”, i.e., advance molecular materials and technologies in terms of resolution, speed, and multi-material printing by orders of magnitude.

On the application side, we aim at functional 3D hybrid optical and electronic systems, 3D artificial materials called metamaterials, and at reconstructing functioning organotypic systems by using 3D scaffolds for cell culture.

Cluster Spokespersons

Prof. Dr. Martin Wegener
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Prof. Dr. Christine Selhuber-Unkel
Heidelberg University


February 12, 2024

Prof. Dr. Graeme Milton gives a Lecture on Metamaterials at the APH

Prof. Dr. Graeme Milton from the University of Utah gives a lecture titled “From Pentamodes to Cable Webs to Masonry Structures” at the Institute of Applied Physics (APH) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) on Friday, March 8, 2024. In his lecture, he will show how to design discrete networks that mimic the stress-guiding properties of pentamode materials, with applications in obstacle avoidance and masonry-inspired structures. In 1995, Milton and Andrei Cherkaev predicted the existence of pentamode materials, which are solids that behave like liquids. In 2012, Cluster PI Martin Wegener developed a process to produce these materials using 3D printers. The lecture will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at room 6-1.

February 1, 2024

Continuation Application goes to the Final Round

The renewal application for the Cluster of Excellence 3D Matter Made to Order, which has been funded since the end of 2019, is entering the final round. The application must be submitted by August 22, 2024. In May 2025, the Excellence Commission, made up of the members of the expert panel and the federal and state science ministers, will make the final decision on which Clusters of Excellence will be funded in the future. Funding will begin on January 1, 2026 and will run for seven years. The aim of the Excellence Strategy is to strengthen Germany as a science location in the long term and to further improve its international competitiveness.

January 15, 2024

Novel Technique for Mechanically Stimulating Multicellular Systems in 3D

A recent Cluster publication by first author Young Scientist Federico Colombo introduces a novel 2-photon laser printing method for mechanically stimulating multicellular systems in 3D. This technique enables precise control over the mechanical environment of cells, allowing for a deeper understanding of their behavior and potential therapeutic applications. The findings pave the way for the development of novel tools and strategies for manipulating cellular behavior in a controlled manner, opening up new possibilities for regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and drug discovery. Cluster PIs Joachim Wittbrodt and Christine Selhuber-Unkel were also involved in this paper.

December 21, 2023

Printed Electronics for Interfacing with Single Cells up to Organoids

A new Cluster publication in Advanced Functional Materials highlights the transformative potential of printed electronics for interfacing with biological systems, from single cells to organoids. The review article by first author Young Scientist Mahsa K. Saghafi summarizes the recent advancements in this rapidly growing field and showcases its diverse applications in biosensing, neural interfacing, and organ-on-a-chip technologies. The article resulted from the collaboration of researchers from KIT and Heidelberg University, including PIs Motomu Tanaka, Martin Bastmeyer, Christine Selhuber-Unkel, Ute Schepers, and Jasmin Aghassi-Hagmann.

December 13, 2023

Nature Review on the Physics of 3D Printing with Light

A new review article by first author Cluster Young Scientist Paul Somers discusses the physics of 3D printing with light. The article published in the journal “nature reviews physics” focuses on the physics underlying optics-based approaches, including interference lithography, tomographic volumetric additive manufacturing, stereolithography, continuous liquid-interface printing, light-sheet printing, parallelized spatiotemporal focusing and (multi-)focus scanning. It depicts the challenges to make 3D printing ‘finer’, ‘faster’, ‘more’ (i.e. to largely expand the possibilities of multi-material printing), and ‘less expensive’. Cluster alumnus Alexander Münchinger and PI Martin Wegener were also involved in this publication.

November 7, 2023

New Review on Recent Advances in Multi-Photon 3D Laser Printing

Multi-photon 3D laser printing, also known as direct laser writing (DLW), has revolutionized the fabrication of complex microstructures. A new review by co-first authors Cluster Young Scientists Philipp Mainik and Christoph Spiegel as well as PI Eva Blasco highlights recent advances in the field, with a focus on the use of active materials. The review published in Advanced Materials provides a comprehensive overview of the latest advances and challenges, and it offers insights into the future of the field, covering a wide range of topics, including applications in microrobotics, optics and photonics, microfluidics, and life sciences.