Select Page

Using 3D Printing in Search for Black Holes


An X-ray telescope designed to search for supermassive black holes could be built using a novel 3D-printing technique called plasma metal deposition. The ESA space telescope – which would also be used to map hot gas structures and determine their physical properties – is due to be launched in 2033.


As part of a project to evaluate whether plasma metal deposition could be used to help build large structure components of the telescope – called Athena, which is short for Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy Astrophysics – Austrian company RHP Technology used the technique to manufacture six demonstrator parts. The prototypes are a 3D-printed and partly processed version of what may someday become the ‘eye’ of Athena. Plasma metal deposition is also a candidate for manufacturing large-scale components in the future, such as Athena’s optical bench, which will align and secure around 600 mirror modules – and will be the largest part ever printed in titanium. The overall shape with a diameter of around 3 meters must be accurate to within a few tens of micrometers. ESA materials engineer […]

You May Also Like…

A Perfect Pair: 3D Printed Drones

A Perfect Pair: 3D Printed Drones

Drones bring great energy to the design and 3D printing realm, with engineers engaged in developing new technology...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!