Understanding two-photon polymerization for biomedical applications
3d printing organs Blog

Understanding Two-Photon Polymerization for Biomedical Functions

Alexander Nguyen

Specialised strategies, like two-photon polymerization (2PP), are a robust know-how to manufacture 3D micro and nanostructures, with purposes in quantum know-how innovation, 3D printed micro-optics, microfluidic units, biomedicine, electronics, communications and extra. Firms like Nanoscribe, are leveraging the facility of 2PP for medical units and extra, and lots of scientists are wanting into 2PP for various purposes, like Alexander Nguyen, a biomedical engineer working with 2PP on the Joint Division of Biomedical Engineering of the College of North Carolina and North Carolina State College, who has been wanting into the advantages and challenges of utilizing 2PP for organic purposes. In his paper “Two-photon polymerization for organic purposes”, he describes 2PP as a novel device to carry out additive manufacturing for organic purposes since buildings of arbitrary geometry on the dimensions scale of the cell or of sub-cellular buildings will be reliably reproduced. Moreover explains that 2PP makes use of the two-photon absorption of near-infrared (NIR) gentle to excite the identical power transition as ultraviolet (UV) photons. 3DPrint.com reached out to Nguyen to be taught extra about using 2PP for organic and biomedical purposes.

How is 2PP superb for biomedical purposes?

“There are numerous analysis questions that require sub-micron decision to analyze which might be in any other case not possible to make with different 3D printing strategies. For instance, the primary tasks I labored on concerned tissue engineering blood vessels and capillaries. There was lots of press up to now about 3D printing full organs however something thicker than a bit of paper can be not possible except you may have vessels to move oxygen and vitamins to the cells. Since our capillaries are on the micron scale, different 3D printing applied sciences like extrusion bioprinting and even stereolithography wouldn’t be capable of fabricate with sufficient decision. The sub-micron decision of 2PP places us within the appropriate ballpark to aim this problem.

We are able to all the time discover purposes to suit any device so maybe the true motive we began utilizing 2PP for biomedical purposes is that it’s simple to iterate designs. The time period, ‘Speedy Prototyping’, appears to be going out of trend for these applied sciences however I really feel that is the strongest advantage of 3D printing. With my dwelling FDM printer, I rapidly made a CAD file for a detector mount and had it put in an hour later. Similarly, something within the applicable size-scale for 2PP will be made fairly simply with little alternative value. Lately, I used to be requested to make a mannequin of a retinal rod cell; three hours later, I had one thing in hand. In a subject the place there may be a lot patient-to-patient variability, it’s essential to have the flexibleness to attempt new issues.”

What advances can we anticipate in 2PP?

“Industrial 2PP programs primarily based on the present know-how exist however are fairly costly and are present in cleanrooms. Including extra parts, similar to a spatial gentle modulator or chirped pulse amplification, would improve efficiency, but in addition improve value and reduce usability. For my part, advances in 2PP for biomedical purposes wouldn’t contain enhancing 2PP itself, however somewhat integrating it with different programs to synergistically enhance the method.”

Corresponding to…?

“2PP guarantees nice enhancements in two essential areas and is awaiting integration. We’ve already talked about the excessive decision of the method however to me, that is simply an incremental enchancment on laser-scanning stereolithography. What’s extra thrilling is the flexibility to attract throughout the bulk of the photopolymer, not simply on the floor. 3D printing is usually described as a ‘layer-by-layer’ course of however this isn’t true with 2PP. When the Eiffel Tower was constructed, it could be fairly foolish to construct it with a bunch of flat metallic plates; it’s constructed with struts. For the reason that voxel in 2PP can transfer in any route, think about how rapidly a mannequin of the Eiffel Tower can be printed utilizing a 3D scanning strategy versus a layer-by-layer strategy. Now merge this promise with an current laser-scanning stereolithography course of. Let’s say the UV laser fabricates the big, flat parts with a 10-micron layer peak.  2PP may fill within the fantastic options or interpolate on the edges to take away the stair-case artifact wherever inside that 10-micron layer. This could possibly be one methodology to realize centimeter-scale buildings with sub-micron decision however this integration is less complicated mentioned than carried out.”

Do you anticipate extra researchers will search to make use of this know-how sooner or later?

“Attaining extra generalized use doesn’t require extra arcane enhancements to 2PP, however somewhat, inventive engineers which are conscious of the capabilities of this know-how and may leverage it to its full impact somewhat than treating it as micro/nano-scale stereolithography. For this, the developments needs to be enhancements in usability, similar to further software program and algorithms to interrupt from the layer-by-layer strategy, integration with different applied sciences to realize new construction sorts (as an illustration, the mix of 2PP with microfluidics to realize multi-material printing or 2PP and UV-stereolithography to drastically enhance the decision of enormous objects.)

It’s the unlucky state of the ‘publish or perish’ state of recent analysis that discovering one thing new is most well-liked over horizontal growth of the know-how and even replication of experiments. This ends in scientific ‘silos’ the place a analysis group is laser-focused on one know-how and may typically overlook different options to a problem. I think about that the primary development 2PP wants is outreach, this implies creating bridges between these silos to construct a system that’s better than the sum of its elements.  Lastly, the largest barrier that could possibly be solved can be usability since these programs will want easy-to-understand management software program. A rising space of want on this subject of analysis is to develop strong software program, so we may actually use some experience there.”

Have you ever been engaged on any new tasks utilizing 2PP lately?

“Industrial 2PP programs exist and are at present discovered in lots of universities however, to my data, there are not any medical units made with 2PP in the marketplace. Taking an additional step again, there are only a few implants made with photopolymers aside from these within the dental subject.  For the reason that polymers and photoinitiators used with 2PP will be poisonous, my latest work has revolved round gauging the protection of photopolymers to be used with embedded cells or tissues. I’m at present working research investigating whether or not simultaneous gentle and photoinitiator publicity could cause gene mutations utilizing in vitro assays.”

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