Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body

Researchers used an optical fiber housed inside the needle pictured to deliver light for 3-D printing microstructures. The light selectively hardens volumes inside the droplet of photopolymer on the glass slide. The new system could one day allow 3-D printing inside the body.

CREDIT
Damien Loterie and Paul Delrot, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Researchers used an optical fiber housed inside the needle pictured to deliver light for 3-D printing microstructures. The light selectively hardens volumes inside the droplet of photopolymer on the glass slide. The new system could one day allow 3-D printing inside the body. CREDIT Damien Loterie and Paul Delrot, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Abstract:
For the first time, researchers have shown that an optical fiber as thin as a human hair can be used to create microscopic structures with laser-based 3D printing. The innovative approach might one day be used with an endoscope to fabricate tiny biocompatible structures directly into tissue inside the body. This capability could enable new ways to repair tissue damage.

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body

Washington, DC | Posted on January 17th, 2018

"With further development our technique could enable endoscopic microfabrication tools that would be valuable during surgery," said research team leader Paul Delrot, from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. "These tools could be used to print micro- or nano-scale 3D structures that facilitate the adhesion and growth of cells to create engineered tissue that restores damaged tissues."

In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Express, the researchers show that their new approach can create microstructures with a 1.0-micron lateral (side-to-side) and 21.5-micron axial (depth) printing resolution. Although these microstructures were created on a microscope slide, the approach could be useful for studying how cells interact with various microstructures in animal models, which would help pave the way for endoscopic printing in people.

To create the microstructures, the researchers dipped the end of an optical fiber into a liquid known as photopolymer that solidifies, or cures, when illuminated with a specific color of light. They used the optical fiber to deliver and digitally focus laser light point-by-point into the liquid to build a three-dimensional microstructure.

By printing delicate details onto large parts, the new ultra-compact microfabrication tool could also be a useful add-on to today's commercially available 3D printers that are used for everything from rapid prototyping to making personalized medical devices. "By using one printer head with a low resolution for the bulk parts and our device as a secondary printer head for the fine details, multi-resolution additive manufacturing could be achieved," said Delrot.

Simplifying the setup

Current laser-based microfabrication techniques rely on a non-linear optical phenomenon called two-photon photopolymerization to selectively cure a volume deep inside a liquid photosensitive material. These techniques are difficult to use for biomedical applications because two-photon photopolymerization requires complex and expensive lasers that emit very short pulses as well as bulky optical systems to deliver the light.

"Our group has expertise in manipulating and shaping light through optical fibers, which led us to think that microstructures could be printed with a compact system. In addition, to make the system more affordable, we took advantage of a photopolymer with a nonlinear dose response. This can work with a simple continuous-wave laser, so expensive pulsed lasers were not required," said Delrot.

To selectively cure a specific volume of material, the researchers took advantage of a chemical phenomenon in which solidification only occurs above a certain threshold in light intensity. By performing a detailed study of the light scanning parameters and the photopolymer's behavior, the researchers discovered the best parameters for using this chemical phenomenon to print microstructures using a low-power, inexpensive laser that emits continuously (rather than pulsed).

To create hollow and solid microstructures, the researchers used an organic polymer precursor doped with photoinitiator made of off-the-shelf chemical components. They focused a continuous-wave laser emitting light at 488-nanometer wavelength -- visible-wavelength light that is potentially safe for cells -- through an optical fiber small enough to fit in a syringe. Using an approach known as wavefront shaping they were able to focus the light inside the photopolymer so that only a small 3D point was cured. Performing a calibration step prior to microfabrication allowed them to digitally focus and scan laser light through the ultra-thin optical fiber without moving the fiber.

"Compared to two-photon photopolymerization state-of-the-art systems, our device has a coarser printing resolution, however, it is potentially sufficient to study cellular interactions and does not require bulky optical systems nor expensive pulsed lasers," said Delrot. "Since our approach doesn't require complex optical components, it could be adapted to use with current endoscopic systems."

Moving toward clinical use

The researchers are working to develop biocompatible photopolymers and a compact photopolymer delivery system, which are necessary before the technique could be used in people. A faster scanning speed is also needed, but in cases where the instrument size is not critical, this limitation could be overcome by using a commercial endoscope instead of the ultra-thin fiber. Finally, a technique to finalize and post-process the printed structure inside the body is required to create microstructures with biomedical functions.

"Our work shows that 3D microfabrication can be achieved with techniques other than focusing a high-power femtosecond pulsed laser," said Delrot. "Using less complex lasers or light sources will make additive manufacturing more accessible and create new opportunities of applications such as the one we demonstrated."

####

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org.

About Optics Express

Optics Express reports on new developments in all fields of optical science and technology every two weeks. The journal provides rapid publication of original, peer-reviewed papers. It is published by The Optical Society and edited by Andrew M. Weiner of Purdue University. Optics Express is an open-access journal and is available at no cost to readers online at: OSA Publishing.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Joshua Miller

202-416-1435


Rebecca B. Andersen
The Optical Society

1-202-416-1443

Copyright © The Optical Society

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Paper: P. Delrot, D. Loterie, D. Psaltis, C. Moser, "Single-photon three-dimensional microfabrication through a multimode optical fiber," Opt. Express, Volume 26, Issue 2, 1766-1778 (2018). DOI: 10.1364/OE.26.001766:

Related News Press

News and information

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Possible Futures

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-APOC3 June 21st, 2019

Discoveries

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Ice lithography: opportunities and challenges in 3D nanofabrication June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Announcements

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

Ice lithography: opportunities and challenges in 3D nanofabrication June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Ice lithography: opportunities and challenges in 3D nanofabrication June 21st, 2019

Electron-behaving nanoparticles rock current understanding of matter: Discovery will lead to new methods for materials design June 20th, 2019

Tools

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

University of Aberdeen use the Deben CT5000 to observe compressive damage mechanisms in syntactic foam June 14th, 2019

2D crystals conforming to 3D curves create strain for engineering quantum devices June 7th, 2019

nPoint piezo driven nanopositioning flexure stages now available from Elliot Scientific June 4th, 2019

Nanobiotechnology

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-APOC3 June 21st, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project