7 March 2014 Combination of thermal extrusion printing and ultrafast laser fabrication for the manufacturing of 3D composite scaffolds
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Abstract
We present a novel approach to manufacturing 3D microstructured composite scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. A thermal extrusion 3D printer – a simple, low-cost tabletop device enabling rapid materialization of CAD models in plastics – was used to produce cm-scale microporous scaffolds out of polylactic acid (PLA). The fabricated objects were subsequently immersed in a photosensitive monomer solution and direct laser writing technique (DLW) was used to refine its inner structure by fabricating a fine mesh inside the previously produced scaffold. In addition, a composite material structure out of four different materials fabricated via DLW is presented. This technique, empowered by ultrafast lasers allows 3D structuring with high spatial resolution in a great variety of photosensitive materials. A composite scaffold made of distinct materials and periodicities is acquired after the development process used to wash out non-linked monomers. Another way to modify the 3D printed PLA surfaces was also demonstrated - ablation with femtosecond laser beam. Structure geometry on macro- to micro- scales could be finely tuned by combining these fabrication techniques. Such artificial 3D substrates could be used for cell growth or as biocompatible-biodegradable implants. To our best knowledge, this is the first experimental demonstration showing the creation of composite 3D scaffolds using convenient 3D printing combined with DLW. This combination of distinct material processing techniques enables rapid fabrication of diverse functional micro-featured and integrated devices. Hopefully, the proposed approach will find numerous applications in the field of tissue engineering, as well as in microelectromechanical systems, microfluidics, microoptics and others.
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Evaldas Balčiūnas, Laurynas Lukoševičius, Dovilė Mackevičiūtė, Sima Rekštytė, Vygandas Rutkūnas, Domas Paipulas, Karolina Stankevičiūtė, Daiva Baltriukienė, Virginija Bukelskienė, Algis P. Piskarskas, Mangirdas Malinauskas, "Combination of thermal extrusion printing and ultrafast laser fabrication for the manufacturing of 3D composite scaffolds", Proc. SPIE 8972, Frontiers in Ultrafast Optics: Biomedical, Scientific, and Industrial Applications XIV, 89721N (7 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2040584; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2040584
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