Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

LIFTSYS prototype machine for transferring biomaterials

29.07.2013
At the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, an interdisciplinary team of researchers is working on a method for transferring biomaterials and on innovative systems technology.

Now the scientists in Aachen have managed to manufacture a machine for medical and pharmaceutical research based on the laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) method.


Transferring biomaterials to a microarray chip using the LIFT method.
Source: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen


LIFTSYS machine at Fraunhofer ILT, used for selectively transferring biomaterials.
Source: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen

The system is to be used mainly for the selective transfer of hydrogels, living cells, and other biomaterials. The first prototype machine, known as LIFTSYS, was recently delivered to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne EPFL.

The LIFT method can be used whenever tiny amounts of material need to be applied onto receiver substrates with pinpoint precision. One broad field of application for the technology is medical and pharmaceutical research, for instance, where diseases and active pharmaceutical ingredients are studied in specially made test structures. Here it is imperative to apply the precious material selectively and as sparingly as possible onto a receiver substrate. The LIFT method facilitates the transfer of a broad range of materials, such as glycoproteins, living cells, and metals – with high precision and using up a minimum of resources. The Biofabrication Group at Fraunhofer ILT is currently working on further developing complex cell-based in vitro test systems.

Transferring material without a printer head: cost-effective and reliable

This is how the printing process works: the receiver substrate is situated beneath a glass slide bearing the biomaterial to be transferred on its underside and an intermediate titanium absorber layer. A pulsed laser beam evaporates the titanium layer, and the resulting forwards impulse transfers the biomaterial onto the receiver substrate. This laser-based process has no need of a printer head and so it can transfer biomaterials such as RNA, DNA, proteins, and cells regardless of their viscosity. The absence of a printer head also means there is none of the associated sample wastage caused, for example, by feeder lines. This dramatically reduces the amount of material required to carry out an analysis. What is more, the LIFT method can produce spot sizes of 10 µm to 300 µm – which means up to 500,000 protein spots can fit onto a surface the size of a thumbnail. Until now it has not been possible to build up sample material with such precision and efficiency and in such small amounts.

From laboratory setups to a user-friendly machine

Fraunhofer ILT’s system development resulted in an innovative five-axis machine with motion systems for transfer and receiver substrates. The built-in beam source can be set to the wavelengths 355 nm or 1064 nm, and the focal position, laser power, and number of pulses can be automatically controlled. This enables the user to transfer a wide range of substances, from biomaterials to metals, with the LIFTSYS machine.

Researchers from the Process Control and System Technology Group in Aachen further developed the initial laboratory setups into the LIFTSYS machine. A main focus of their work was to ensure that the prototype was intuitive to operate. To this end, they integrated PC-based visualization and control technology into the system. There are two easy operating concepts for users to choose from: one is a graphical user interface, from which all elements of the system can be easily controlled; and the other is text-based programming in G-code. In addition to positioning commands, this text language also contains add-ons for laser processing: for example, laser pulses can be triggered individually and pulse energies changed. This makes it possible to program complex transfer patterns and assign them to a specific processing result.

Applications at EPFL in Lausanne

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne EPFL is performing research in inkjet printing for various applications in micro-engineering, material science and bio-engineering. “The new LIFT method is a very interesting alternative to conventional nozzle-based inkjet printing, as new classes of materials can be locally deposited with low material waste,” explains Prof. Juergen Brugger of the EPFL. “The fact that even very high viscous liquids and solid films can be locally transferred to a receiver substrate makes the technique very versatile for several of our research groups.” The scientists at EPFL will first perform basic research to study the morphology and materials properties of the deposited pattern and will then benchmark the LIFT method with conventional inkjet printing. Subsequently, research for selected applications in the fields of semiconductors, biomaterials or sensors will be addressed. EPFL will also allow students to work on the new LIFT tool, preparing thus future engineers and scientists to be familiar with innovative surface patterning methods to enable novel manufacturing schemes and ultimately new applications.

LIFTSYS at Biotechnica 2013

At this year’s Biotechnica – Europe’s no.1 event for biotechnology, life sciences, and lab technology, which will take place in Hannover, Germany, from October 8 to 10, 2013 – Fraunhofer ILT will be presenting its LIFTSYS machine for the application field of in vitro test systems. At the joint Fraunhofer booth in Hall 9.E09, experts will be demonstrating a prototype machine along with other exhibits from the field of biofabrication.

Contact

Dr. Martin Wehner
Head Biotechnology and Laser Therapy Group
Telefon: +49 241 8906-202
martin.wehner@ilt.fraunhofer.de

Petra Nolis | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.ilt.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht New technology for ultra-smooth polymer films
28.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht Diamond watch components
18.06.2018 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>