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May 11th, 2007
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere University of Technology and Nanofoot Finland Oy have developed a direct-write three-dimensional forming method for biomaterials. The methodology enables the fabrication of nano and micrometer scale structures that can be used as parts of tissue engineering scaffolds. The project is being funded by the BioneXt Tampere Research Programme.
The new process is based on the use of visible light, ultra short pulse laser. When focused inside photopolymerizable material, the radiation causes a reaction in which two photons are absorbed simultaneously, thus leading to the polymerization of the material. One of the advantages of this process, known as the two-photon polymerization process, is that the fabrication occurs below the surface of liquid material and the polymerization is confined to the point of focus whose diameter can be much less than 1 micrometer. The conventional ultraviolet light-induced polymerization causes hardening of the material along the entire path of the UV beam, making it impossible to form very small three-dimensional features. The two-photon polymerization process requires no utilization of special photolithographic masks since the structure is formed inside the liquid volume.
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