Using direct-write assembly of organic ink, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a technique for fabricating three-dimensional microvascular networks. These tiny networks could function as compact fluidic factories in miniature sensors, chemical reactors, or computers used in applications from biomedicine to information technology.
"The fabrication technique produces a pervasive network of interconnected cylindrical channels, which can range from 10 to 300 microns in diameter," said Jennifer Lewis, a professor of materials science and engineering and of chemical engineering at Illinois. "Our approach opens up new avenues for device design that are currently inaccessible by conventional lithographic methods."
The microvascular networks also could be combined with self-healing functionality, "providing an analog to the human circulatory system for the next generation of autonomous healing materials," said Scott White, a professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering and a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. "The embedded network would serve as a circulatory system for the continuous transport of repair chemicals to sites of damage within the material."
James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
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