Previous researchers have used 3D printers to make microfluidics, but not on this scale
Researchers at BYU are the first to 3D-print a viable microfluidic device small enough to be effective at a scale much less than 100 micrometers. Microfluidic devices are tiny chips that can sort out disease biomarkers, cells and other small structures in samples like blood by using microscopic channels incorporated into the devices.
The accomplishment, which is a major breakthrough toward mass-producing the medical diagnostic devices cheaply, is detailed in the latest issue of the academic journal Lab on a Chip. Researchers Greg Nordin, a BYU electrical engineering professor, and Adam Woolley, a BYU chemistry professor, say the key to their innovation was two-fold:
- Building their own 3D printer to print at a much higher resolution
- Using a new, specifically designed, low-cost, custom resin
“Others have 3D-printed fluidic channels, but they haven’t been able to make them small enough for microfluidics,” Nordin said. “So we decided to make our own 3D printer and research a resin that could do it.”
Their work has produced labs on a chip with flow channel cross sections as small as 18 micrometers by 20 micrometers. Previous efforts to 3D-print microfluidic devices have failed to achieve success smaller than 100 micrometers. The researchers’ 3D printer uses a 385 nm LED, which dramatically increases the available selection of UV absorbers for resin formulation compared to 3D printers with 405 nm LEDs.
Nordin said the advantages of 3D printing for microfluidic device fabrication are already well-known and that their method, digital light processing stereolithography (DLP-SLA), is an especially promising lower-cost approach. DLP-SLA uses a micromirror array chip, like those in most consumer projectors, to dynamically create the optical pattern for each layer during layer-by-layer printing of a device.
Researchers say they are laying the foundation for 3D printing to challenge the dominance of conventional methods — soft lithography and hot embossing — of microfluidic prototyping and development.
“We’re deliberately trying to start a revolution in how microfluidic devices are fabricated,” Nordin said.
Woolley’s research interests in microfluidics focus on using lab-on-a-chip devices to detect biomarkers related to preterm birth. To that end, he and Nordin just submitted a proposal to the National Institutes of Health to develop the approach in this paper for preterm birth prediction.
Woolley said the paper represents an improvement of a factor of 100 on the size of features that are now possible in 3D printed microfluidics. It also cuts down on time and hassle: the BYU-authored approach can create a device in 30 minutes’ time and doesn’t require the use of clean rooms — a special lab environment free from dust and other contaminants.
“It’s not just a little step; it’s a huge leap from one size regime to a previously inaccessible size regime for 3D printing,” Woolley said. “It opens up a lot of doors for making microfluidics more easily and inexpensively.”
The Latest on: 3D printed lab-on-a-chip
- PhD pay, COVID’s health burden — the week in infographicson May 24, 2022 at 8:34 am
Poor pay for PhD students. Salaries for PhD students in the biological sciences fall well below the basic cost of living at almost every institution and department in the United S ...
- Researchers at MAHE develop 3D printed self-moisturising contact lens to offset dry eye syndromeon May 22, 2022 at 7:30 pm
Second, it provides a platform for future development of contact lenses with lab-on-a-chip capabilities ... structure manufactured by the 3D-additive manufacturing technique. The inherently considered ...
- New process revolutionizes microfluidic fabricationon May 19, 2022 at 1:24 pm
They have demonstrated usefulness in applications from inkjet printing to chemical ... tests that now require a full lab, lending them the name lab-on-a-chip. Microfluidic devices use tiny spaces ...
- Udupi: Researchers from MAHE report development of 3D printed self-moisturising contact lenson May 18, 2022 at 5:10 am
Researchers from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education have recently published a paper reporting the development of self-moisturising contact lens using the 3D printing technology. The study has ...
- Lab on a Chip Device (IMAGE)on May 11, 2022 at 4:43 pm
Hua Gong, a Ph.D. student at BYU, holds up a 3-D-printed microfluidic device. Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert!
- Lab-on-a-Chip and Microfluidics Europe Conference 2022: Rotterdam, Netherlands - June 21-22, 2022on May 10, 2022 at 2:00 am
Lab-on-a-Chip and Microfluidics Europe 2022 now in ... convergence of microfluidics technologies with biofabrication and 3D-printing as well as deployment of microfluidics technologies in point ...
- Volumetric 3D Printing Can Make Small Glass Parts in Secondson April 21, 2022 at 1:57 pm
consumer electronics and microfluidics for “lab-on-a-chip” devices. Unfortunately, traditional glassmaking can be costly and slow, and 3D-printed small glass objects have rough surfaces ...
- New process enables 3D printing of small and complex components made of glass in just a few minuteson April 19, 2022 at 9:31 am
Conventional 3D printers print their objects layer by layer ... Microfluidic channels are also needed for so-called lab-on-a-chip systems for research and medical diagnostics.
- New process enables 3D printing of small and complex components made of glass in just a few minuteson April 19, 2022 at 8:30 am
Possible applications of the new process technology are micro-optical components of sensors, microscopes or lab-on-a-chip systems ... and precisely using micro 3D printing. Possible applications ...
- New process enables 3D printing of small and complex components made of glass in just a few minuteson April 19, 2022 at 7:55 am
Component is created in a single step The Freiburg scientists have now combined Glassomer materials with a new 3D printing process ... needed for so-called lab-on-a-chip systems for research ...
via Google News and Bing News