Researcher observing a 3-D printer

Researcher observing a 3-D printer

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This image is part of the feature 21st Century Machine Shines Light Onto A Fossil World

Credit: PASCAL GOETGHELUCK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fossil insect research. Palaeontologist Malvina Lak, from the University of Rennes, France, observing the 3-D inkjet printer creating an enlarged model of a fossil ant. The model is based on an ant that was found in 100-million-year-old opaque amber (fossilised conifer plant resin) and X-rayed at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. The X-rays here are one thousand billion times brighter than hospital X-rays and can image the interior of opaque amber samples at high resolution. Multiple scans of the sample creates virtual 'slices' that can be reconstructed into 3-D computer models or printed into physical models. 3-D inkjet printers create models by glueing fine powder layer by layer.

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