Researchers in China have used Projection Micro Stereolithography (PµSL) to improve the fabrication of micropillar array electrodes (µAEs) for the identification and detection of biomarkers. PµSL, a micro-precision 3D printing technology from Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF), enabled researchers to produce 3D printed molds for reduced fabrication costs and increased device sensitivity.

Most µAEs are fabricated with traditional processes that are both expensive and time-consuming. Because they limit aspect ratio and pillar height, these lithographic processes also limit the development of low-cost and high-sensitivity microsensors. 3D electrodes with larger surface areas and higher pillars can support larger current densities, but researchers still need a way to produce them cost-effectively. PµSL technology can create master molds for these low-cost, high-sensitivity µAEs.

Using a BMF P140 3D printer, the researchers in China printed a UV-curable polymer onto a glass slide, forming the positive master of each micropillar array. The height of the pillars was either 100 µm, 300 µm or 500 µm. For each master mold, a PDMS mixture was then cast, degassed, and baked overnight. Negative PDMS replicas were then peeled away from the master and used to mass-produce PDMS micropillar arrays using soft lithography. To provide electrical conductivity, gold films were applied.

The researchers described their efforts in a paper, “Development of micropillar array electrodes  for highly sensitive detection of biomarkers”, that was published by The Royal Society of Chemistry. To download the full paper, fill out the form.

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3D Printed Part of the Week

Cardiovascular Stent

Medical devices are becoming smaller, more expensive to assemble, and used more commonly with collaborative robotics. Miniaturization, the cost of assembly, and the complexity of designing tools for diagnostic and surgical robots are just some of the challenges that today’s medical device designers face. That’s where medical device 3D printing comes into play.

BMF’s Projection Micro Stereolithography (PµSL) technology can 3D print medical devices with ultra-high resolution, accuracy and precision. PµSL can 3D print true microstructures with ultra-high printing resolution (2µm~50µm) and printing tolerance (+/- 10µm ~ +/- 25µm).

Check out this Cardiovascular Stent:

  • Dimensions –15.44mm x 3.42mm
  • Resolution – 10 µm
  • Tolerance – ±0.025mm
  • Special Features – Flexible materials, rapid fabrication of complex structures

Learn more about the new microArch™ S240

microArch™ is the first commercialized high resolution, 3D micro-fabrication equipment based on PµSL (Projection Micro Stereolithography) technology, which is designed for production of high resolution, highly precise parts for prototyping and short run production. 

Learn more about the new microArch™ S240

Customer Story

3D Printing Molds for COVID-19 Testing at UC Berkeley

Microfluidic multiplex devices are used in the analysis of protein biomarkers, biological characteristics that let researchers measure and evaluate normal biological, pathogenic, or pharmacological processes. Microfluidics, the manipulation of small volumes of fluid and flow, is used widely in point-of-care (POC) devices for clinical diagnostics and supports multiplexing, the quantitative measurement of multiple protein biomarkers for complex lab procedures involving cancer or COVID-19. In the case study we will learn how two students at UC Berkeley are 3D printing molds for COVID-19 testing.

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