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Micro 3D Printing Advances Biomarker Detection

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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.

If you’d like to download the full technical paper, please click here.

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