UMD engineers demonstrate their approach by printing the smallest-known 3D microfluidic circuit element
Engineers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have created the first 3D-printed fluid circuit element so tiny that 10 could rest on the width of a human hair.
Engineers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have created the first 3D-printed fluid circuit element so tiny that 10 could rest on the width of a human hair. The diode ensures fluids move in only a single direction -- a critical feature for products like implantable devices that release therapies directly into the body. For full-size image and details: https://go.umd.edu/sol-gel
Credit: DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-36727-z
The diode ensures fluids move in only a single direction--a critical feature for products like implantable devices that release therapies directly into the body.
The microfluidic diode also represents the first use of a 3D nanoprinting strategy that breaks through previous cost and complexity barriers hindering advancements in areas from personalized medicine to drug delivery.
"Just as shrinking electric circuits revolutionized the field of electronics, the ability to dramatically reduce the size of 3D printed microfluidic circuitry sets the stage for a new era in fields like pharmaceutical screening, medical diagnostics, and microrobotics," said Ryan Sochol, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering and bioengineering at UMD's A. James Clark School of Engineering.
Sochol, along with graduate students Andrew Lamont and Abdullah Alsharhan, outlined their new strategy in a paper published today in the open-access journal Scientific Reports.
Scientists have in recent years tapped into the emerging technology of 3D nanoprinting to build medical devices and create "organ-on-a-chip" systems. But the complexity of pushing pharmaceuticals, nutrients, and other fluids into such small environments without leakage--and the costs of overcoming those complexities--made the technology impractical for most applications requiring precise fluid control.
Instead, researchers were limited to additive manufacturing technologies that print features significantly larger than the new UMD fluid diode.
"This really put a limit on how small your device could be," said Lamont, a bioengineering student who developed the approach and led the tests as part of his doctoral research. "After all, the microfluidic circuitry in your microrobot can't be larger than the robot itself."
What sets the Clark School team's strategy apart is its use of a process known as sol-gel, which allowed them to anchor their diode to the walls of a microscale channel printed with a common polymer. The diode's minute architecture was then printed directly inside of the channel--layer-by-layer, from the top of the channel down.
The result is a fully sealed, 3D microfluidic diode created at a fraction of the cost and in less time than previous approaches.
The strong seal they achieved, which will protect the circuit from contamination and ensure any fluid pushed through the diode isn't released at the wrong time or place, was further strengthened by a reshaping of the microchannel walls.
"Where previous methods required researchers to sacrifice time and cost to build similar components, our approach allows us to essentially have our cake and eat it too," Sochol said. "Now, researchers can 3D nanoprint complex fluidic systems faster, cheaper, and with less labor than ever before."
Melissa L. Andreychek | EurekAlert!
Researchers find trigger that turns strep infections into flesh-eating disease
19.02.2019 | Houston Methodist
Loss of identity in immune cells explained
18.02.2019 | Technische Universität München
Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.
The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...
For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.
The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...
Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens
Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light
When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...
The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...
11.02.2019 | Event News
30.01.2019 | Event News
16.01.2019 | Event News
19.02.2019 | Information Technology
19.02.2019 | Health and Medicine
19.02.2019 | Trade Fair News