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!
First impressions go a long way in the immune system
22.07.2019 | Weizmann Institute of Science
Genetic differences between strains of Epstein-Barr virus can alter its activity
18.07.2019 | University of Sussex
Augsburg chemists and physicists report how they have succeeded in the extremely difficult separation of hydrogen and deuterium in a gas mixture.
Thanks to the Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology developed here and already widely used, the University of Augsburg is internationally recognized as the...
Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.
In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...
Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.
Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
22.07.2019 | Information Technology
22.07.2019 | Health and Medicine
22.07.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering