University of Connecticut,
Keywords: biodegradable polymers, micro-molding, single injection vaccine, additive manufacturing, pulsatile drug release, 3D printing
Summary:Three-dimensional (3D) microstructures created using microfabrication and additive manufacturing techniques have demonstrated value across a number of fields ranging from biomedicine to microelectronics. However, the fabrication techniques used to create these devices each have their own unique set of advantages and limitations with regards to resolution, material compatibility, and geometrical constraints that determine the types of microstructures that can be formed. Here we describe a new microfabrication technique termed StampEd Assembly of polymer Layers (SEAL) and demonstrate the potential utility of this method by creating pulsatile drug delivery devices and pH sensors that we were unable to produce using traditional 3D printing methods. The major benefit of SEAL is the ability to simultaneously 1) create microstructures with complex geometry at high resolution, 2) produce fully-enclosed internal cavities containing a solid or liquid of interest, and 3) use potentially any thermoplastic material without processing additives that have unknown safety in humans. As a result, this approach may have broad uses for biomedical, environmental, and microelectronic applications in which high resolution and high-throughput fabrication are required.