Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Laser technique used to build micro-polymeric structure on a human hair, without harming it

04.05.2004


First demonstration that ’MAP’ laser technique can be used non-destructively on biomaterials; potential applications range from medical research to fiber optics



Researchers in the laboratory of Boston College Chemistry Professor John T. Fourkas have demonstrated the fabrication of microscopic polymeric structures on top of a human hair.

Fourkas, in collaboration with Boston College Physics Professor Michael J. Naughton and Professors Malvin C. Teich and Bahaa E. A. Saleh of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University, used a technique called multiphoton-absorption photopolymerization (MAP), in which a polymer can be deposited at the focal point of a laser beam; scanning of the laser beam in a desired pattern then allows for the formation of intricate, three-dimensional patterns. This technique, also being explored by a handful of other groups worldwide, makes it possible to create features that are 1000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.


These new results show for the first time that MAP can be used to fabricate structures nondestructively on biomaterials, and point the way towards applications of MAP in the creation of miniature biodevices, which could include micromanipulators for cells or even individual protein or DNA molecules.

The findings will be published in the June 1 issue of Journal of Applied Physics.

The original purpose of the study was to demonstrate that intricate and resilient structures could be created with MAP using inexpensive and readily-available materials.

In order to demonstrate the size of the features that could be created, the researchers fabricated structures near a human hair, and in the course of these experiments they discovered that it was also possible to fabricate structures on the hair itself.

"We built the structure on top of the hair with a material that is akin to plexiglass," said Fourkas. "One of the really exciting and unexpected things about this is that we found that we could make this structure on the hair without harming it in any way. This suggests that we could accomplish the same with other biological materials. One could imagine, for instance, building devices directly on skin, blood vessels, and eventually even a living cell. While this idea is currently in the realm of science fiction, our results represent an important step in that direction.

"On the level of individual cells, one can imagine making devices that can tether cells to a surface or to each other, or that allow the delivery of particular chemicals to the cell, or that monitor processes within the cell," explained Fourkas. "On a larger scale, if the same sort of structures can be constructed from biocompatible materials one can imagine applications in drug delivery and medical monitoring, among other areas."

Three-dimensional structures created with this technique also have the potential to be used in other miniature devices, such as optical communications hardware: fiber optics and the hardware that is used to interface them with electronics.

"While there are applications of the technique we used in the optical communications area that are being pursued by us and by others, writing a structure on a hair does not have direct bearing on optical communications," Fourkas said. "On the other hand, we can and have done exactly the same sort of thing on optical fibers that are of comparable size, and this does have direct bearing."

John Fourkas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bc.edu/

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Let the good tubes roll
19.01.2018 | DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

nachricht Method uses DNA, nanoparticles and lithography to make optically active structures
19.01.2018 | Northwestern University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>