The work done by Dr. Yong Huang's team under a NSF GOALI collaboration between the University of Florida, Gainesville and MicroFab Technologies appears in Volume 31 of Additive Manufacturing. The article by Shinichi Sakurada, Marc Sole-Gras, Kyle Christensen, David B. Wallace, and Yong Huang is titled "Liquid-absorbing system-assisted intersecting jets printing of soft structures from reactive biomaterials". This novel approach for 3D printing avoids premixing of the reactive components before deposition. By using two intersecting jets printing, reactive materials are dispensed separately, colliding and mixing with each other in air before landing on a previously deposited layer. Different 3D structures have been successfully printed using intersecting jets printing from sodium alginate and calcium chloride inks achieving a 2.5 height-diameter ratio. This printing technology does not influence the post-printing cell viability while printing 3T3 cells, demonstrating its promising potential for bioprinting applications.
Ink-Jet Printing of Neuronal and Other Types of Cells
Dr. Patrick Smith's research group at the University of Sheffield used MicroFab's Jetlab® printing system to demonstrate ink-jet printing of biological and neuronal cells. The precise printing technique can be used for lab-on-chip technologies and to fabricate neural networks for fundamental neuroscience studies and applications. “Ink-jet printing can be used to produce finer neuronal networks than produced by other techniques since the printed cells produce longer neural processes,” Smith explains.
Xiubo Zhao from The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Sheffield University has created microscopic swimming devices using MicroFab's Jetlab® printing systems. Thetiny rockets, which measure 300 by 100 microns, actually create their own thrust, enabling them to swim through bio fluids. How? A form of inkjet 3D printing is used to deposit a solution of dissolved silk mixed with an enzyme called catalase. Layers of dissolved silk mixed with an enzyme called catalase are built up with other methanol layers by the MicroFab's drop-on-demand printer. A chemical reaction between the methanol and the solution forms the rigid rocket shape of the device, trapping the enzyme within a silk lattice. The catalase then reacts with fuel molecules, producing bubbles which propel the rocket forward.
Survivability of ink-jet encapsulated cells for Tissue Engineering
MicroFab, in ongoing collaboration with Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), demonstrated 7-day survival post printing & encapsulation. These experiments used a custom ink-jet Bioprinter built by MicroFab and installed at WFIRM.
Beginning with shipments in July 2013, MicroFab has added on all new jetlab print stations the capability to print curved lines on the fly and to have synchronized vertical motion of the print head at the same time. This feature allows structures like conductive spirals to be used as antennae or kink-free conductive traces for circuitry to be printed efficiently and with a constant line width, which traditional raster scans cannot maintain. The seamlessly synchronized vertical head motion enables printing onto structured surfaces. Recently installed systems are eligible for a free control software and motion firmware upgrade.
MicroFab printers used for ultra-sensitive detector calibration
This year, MicroFab has shipped and installed jetlab® 4 XL-B Printing Systems in four countries worldwide. These systems have an integrated ultra-microbalance under Printing System control, allowing rapid and low-cost creation of precision calibration standards of the material of interest. Standards for ultra-low level detection explosives, narcotics, and other substances have been produced, and used to calibrate and develop detection equipment.
MicroFab’s dispensing equipment “out of this world”
NASA has used MicroFab’s microdispensers in the initial tests in microgravity environment on a reduced gravity parabolic orbit flight. The Observation and Analysis of Smectic Islands in Space (OASIS) projects is exploring the characteristics of freely suspended liquid crystals in a microgravity environment. MicroFab’s ink-jet dispensers were used to deposit droplets on a liquid crystal surface. The dispensers will be implemented on the equipment that will fly on the International Space Station in 2014 where the complete experiments will take place. The image on the right shows the bubble chamber using MicroFab’s ink-jet dispensers.
Bio-printed Constructs for Battlefield Burn Repairs
MicroFab will develop, for a US Army funded project titled Bio-printed Constructs for Battlefield Burn Repairs, an in situ tissue engineering system for the repair of battlefield burn injuries. Inkjet-based dispensing systems, protocols, and materials that enable repair of life threatening battlefield burn injuries will be developed. This will allow army medical personnel to respond promptly in managing burn injuries using inkjet printed tissue engineered dermal repair constructs that are far superior to currently available autografts.
Phase I SBIR award on ultra-low volume crystallization
MicroFab receives a two year Phase I SBIR award from the National Institutes of Health for the development of an inkjet-based instrument to perform ultra-low volume crystallization screening of brain-derived GPCRs using the highly effective in meso lipid cubic phase (LCP) approach.
Jetlab® 4xl-B product announcement
The collaborative work with NIST on the fabrication of test strips for testing the explosive trace detectors brought up the need to track the dispensed amount of material. The new Jetlab® 4xl-B system incorporates a micro-balance for accurate determination of the droplet mass, and tracks and records the results of the measurements.
VaporJet™ product announcement
MicroFab’s development of olfaction measurement tools, a collaboration with NIST on precision vapor generation, and the basic research in a Phase I SBIR grant funded by NSF were used to develop our VaporJet™ precision vapor generation system. In this system, dilute solutions of explosives are deposited on a heater where they evaporate rapidly. The resulting vapors are carried to the outlet by gas stream controlled by a mass flow controller. Continuous or dose operation are available.
SphereJet™ product announcement
The SphereJet™ system combines drop-on-demand, pressure assisted drop-on-demand, and continuous ink-jet drop generation methods that were developed in MicroFab’s research into ink-jet manufactured drug loaded microspheres. MicroFab has taken the three ink-jet based microsphere production methods and combined them into a single bench top research platform. The SphereJet™ system can be used to develop new materials and protocols based on the solvent extraction/evaporation method of microsphere manufacturing.
Phase II SBIR Award on Generation of Explosive Vapors for Detector Calibration
MicroFab receives a Phase II SBIR award from the National Science Foundation for the development of an ink-jet based calibrator for explosive trace detectors.
Fluid Microdispensing for Drug Delivery Applications
MicroFab exhibits at the 12th international Symposium on Advances in Drug Delivery Systems organized in February 2005, Salt Lake City.
MicroFab recognized by American Society of Mechanical Engineers - North Texas Section
American Society of Mechanical Engineers, North Texas Section (NTS) presents David Wallace, MicroFab's Vice President, with the "Industry plaque" at the annual NTS banquet. The plaque is presented to companies that support NTS with the ongoing activities. MicroFab was recognized for sponsoring several scholarships for local ASME students, providing tours and presenting current research activities at the monthly meetings.