Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Ink


Despite recent advances to control the spatial composition and dynamic functionalities of bacteria embedded in materials, bacterial localization into complex three-dimensional (3D) geometries remains a major challenge. We demonstrate a 3D printing approach to create bacteria-derived functional materials by combining the natural diverse metabolism of bacteria with the shape design freedom of additive manufacturing. To achieve this, we embedded bacteria in a biocompatible and functionalized 3D printing ink and printed two types of “living materials” capable of degrading pollutants and of producing medically relevant bacterial cellulose. With this versatile bacteria-printing platform, complex materials displaying spatially specific compositions, geometry, and properties not accessed by standard technologies can be assembled from bottom up for new biotechnological and biomedical applications.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Cellulose, Microorganism, Printing, Inkjet printer, Ink, Printing press


Here, we present a comprehensive approach for creating robust, elastic, designer Lunar and Martian regolith simulant (LRS and MRS, respectively) architectures using ambient condition, extrusion-based 3D-printing of regolith simulant inks. The LRS and MRS powders are characterized by distinct, highly inhomogeneous morphologies and sizes, where LRS powder particles are highly irregular and jagged and MRS powder particles are rough, but primarily rounded. The inks are synthesized via simple mixing of evaporant, surfactant, and plasticizer solvents, polylactic-co-glycolic acid (30% by solids volume), and regolith simulant powders (70% by solids volume). Both LRS and MRS inks exhibit similar rheological and 3D-printing characteristics, and can be 3D-printed at linear deposition rates of 1-150 mm/s using 300 μm to 1.4 cm-diameter nozzles. The resulting LRS and MRS 3D-printed materials exhibit similar, but distinct internal and external microstructures and material porosity (~20-40%). These microstructures contribute to the rubber-like quasi-static and cyclic mechanical properties of both materials, with young’s moduli ranging from 1.8 to 13.2 MPa and extension to failure exceeding 250% over a range of strain rates (10(-1)-10(2) min(-1)). Finally, we discuss the potential for LRS and MRS ink components to be reclaimed and recycled, as well as be synthesized in resource-limited, extraterrestrial environments.

Concepts: Mars, Materials science, Surfactant, Pascal, Ink, Young's modulus, Powder, Life on Mars


Fully printed wearable electronics based on two-dimensional (2D) material heterojunction structures also known as heterostructures, such as field-effect transistors, require robust and reproducible printed multi-layer stacks consisting of active channel, dielectric and conductive contact layers. Solution processing of graphite and other layered materials provides low-cost inks enabling printed electronic devices, for example by inkjet printing. However, the limited quality of the 2D-material inks, the complexity of the layered arrangement, and the lack of a dielectric 2D-material ink able to operate at room temperature, under strain and after several washing cycles has impeded the fabrication of electronic devices on textile with fully printed 2D heterostructures. Here we demonstrate fully inkjet-printed 2D-material active heterostructures with graphene and hexagonal-boron nitride (h-BN) inks, and use them to fabricate all inkjet-printed flexible and washable field-effect transistors on textile, reaching a field-effect mobility of ~91 cm(2) V(-1) s(-1), at low voltage (<5 V). This enables fully inkjet-printed electronic circuits, such as reprogrammable volatile memory cells, complementary inverters and OR logic gates.

Concepts: Electricity, Integrated circuit, Transistor, Printing, Inkjet printer, Ink, Electronics, Logic gate


We have investigated whether inkjet printing technology can be extended to print cells of the adult rat central nervous system (CNS), retinal ganglion cells (RGC) and glia, and the effects on survival and growth of these cells in culture, which is an important step in the development of tissue grafts for regenerative medicine, and may aid in the cure of blindness. We observed that RGC and glia can be successfully printed using a piezoelectric printer. Whilst inkjet printing reduced the cell population due to sedimentation within the printing system, imaging of the printhead nozzle, which is the area where the cells experience the greatest shear stress and rate, confirmed that there was no evidence of destruction or even significant distortion of the cells during jet ejection and drop formation. Importantly, the viability of the cells was not affected by the printing process. When we cultured the same number of printed and non-printed RGC/glial cells, there was no significant difference in cell survival and RGC neurite outgrowth. In addition, use of a glial substrate significantly increased RGC neurite outgrowth, and this effect was retained when the cells had been printed. In conclusion, printing of RGC and glia using a piezoelectric printhead does not adversely affect viability and survival/growth of the cells in culture. Importantly, printed glial cells retain their growth-promoting properties when used as a substrate, opening new avenues for printed CNS grafts in regenerative medicine.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Neuron, Myelin, Printing, Inkjet printer, Ink, Printmaking


Bioprinting is an emerging technique used to fabricate viable, 3D tissue constructs through the precise deposition of cells and hydrogels in a layer-by-layer fashion. Despite the ability to mimic the native properties of tissue, printed 3D constructs that are composed of naturally-derived biomaterials still lack structural integrity and adequate mechanical properties for use in vivo, thus limiting their development for use in load-bearing tissue engineering applications, such as cartilage. Fabrication of viable constructs using a novel multi-head deposition system provides the ability to combine synthetic polymers, which have higher mechanical strength than natural materials, with the favorable environment for cell growth provided by traditional naturally-derived hydrogels. However, the complexity and high cost associated with constructing the required robotic system hamper the widespread application of this approach. Moreover, the scaffolds fabricated by these robotic systems often lack flexibility, which further restrict their applications. To address these limitations, advanced fabrication techniques are necessary to generate complex constructs with controlled architectures and adequate mechanical properties. In this study, we describe the construction of a hybrid inkjet printing/electrospinning system that can be used to fabricate viable tissues for cartilage tissue engineering applications. Electrospinning of polycaprolactone fibers was alternated with inkjet printing of rabbit elastic chondrocytes suspended in a fibrin-collagen hydrogel in order to fabricate a five-layer tissue construct of 1 mm thickness. The chondrocytes survived within the printed hybrid construct with more than 80% viability one week after printing. In addition, the cells proliferated and maintained their basic biological properties within the printed layered constructs. Furthermore, the fabricated constructs formed cartilage-like tissues both in vitro and in vivo as evidenced by the deposition of type II collagen and glycosaminoglycans. Moreover, the printed hybrid scaffolds demonstrated enhanced mechanical properties compared to printed alginate or fibrin-collagen gels alone. This study demonstrates the feasibility of constructing a hybrid inkjet printing system using off-the-shelf components to produce cartilage constructs with improved biological and mechanical properties.

Concepts: Extracellular matrix, In vivo, In vitro, Printing, Inkjet printer, Paper, Ink, Printing press


Nanotechnology, with its broad impact on societally relevant applications, relies heavily on the availability of accessible nanofabrication methods. Even though a host of such techniques exists, the flexible, inexpensive, on-demand and scalable fabrication of functional nanostructures remains largely elusive. Here we present a method involving nanoscale electrohydrodynamic ink-jet printing that may significantly contribute in this direction. A combination of nanoscopic placement precision, soft-landing fluid dynamics, rapid solvent vapourization, and subsequent self-assembly of the ink colloidal content leads to the formation of scaffolds with base diameters equal to that of a single ejected nanodroplet. The virtually material-independent growth of nanostructures into the third dimension is then governed by an autofocussing phenomenon caused by local electrostatic field enhancement, resulting in large aspect ratio. We demonstrate the capabilities of our electrohydrodynamic printing technique with several examples, including the fabrication of plasmonic nanoantennas with features sizes down to 50 nm.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Nanotechnology, Liquid, Printing, Inkjet printer, Ink, Aspect ratio, Ink cartridge


: To determine the effects of single radial or horizontal suture placement in 2-step clear corneal incision (CCI) wound apposition and permeability to particles of India ink.

Concepts: Ink, Inks, India ink


The capability to print three-dimensional (3D) cellular tubes is not only a logical first step towards successful organ printing but also a critical indicator of the feasibility of the envisioned organ printing technology. A platform-assisted 3D inkjet bioprinting system has been proposed to fabricate 3D complex constructs such as zigzag tubes. Fibroblast (3T3 cell)-based tubes with an overhang structure have been successfully fabricated using the proposed bioprinting system. The post-printing 3T3 cell viability of printed cellular tubes has been found above 82% (or 93% with the control effect considered) even after a 72-h incubation period using the identified printing conditions for good droplet formation, indicating the promising application of the proposed bioprinting system. Particularly, it is proved that the tubular overhang structure can be scaffold-free fabricated using inkjetting, and the maximum achievable height depends on the inclination angle of the overhang structure. As a proof-of-concept study, the resulting fabrication knowledge helps print tissue-engineered blood vessels with complex geometry. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2012; 109: 3152-3160. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Printing, Inkjet printer, Ink, Printing press, Lithography, Printmaking, Giclée, Old master print


Non-contact inkjet printing technology is one of the most promising tools for producing microarrays. The quality of the microarray depends on the type of the substrate used for printing biomolecules. Various porous and non-porous substrates have been used in the past, but due to low production cost and easy availability, non-porous substrates like glass and plastic are preferred over porous substrates. On these non-porous substrates, obtaining spot uniformity and a high signal to noise ratio is a big challenge. In our research work, we have modified pristine glass slides using various silanes to produce a range of hydrophobic glass substrates. The hydrophobicities of the slides expressed in the contact angle (θ) of a sessile drop of water were 49°, 61°, 75°, 88° and 103°. Using a non-contact inkjet printer, microarrays of biotinylated biomolecules (BSA and IgG) were produced on these modified glass substrates, pristine (untreated) glass and also on HTA polystyrene slides. The uniformity of the spots, reflecting the distribution of the biomolecules in the spots, was analyzed and compared using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). The quality of the spots was superior on the glass slide with a contact angle of ∼75°. We also investigated the influence of the hydrophobicity of the substrate on a two-step, real diagnostic antibody assay. This nucleic acid microarray immunoassay (NAMIA) for the detection of Staphylococcus aureus showed that on highly hydrophilic (θ < 10°) and hydrophobic substrates (θ > 100°) the assay signal was low, whereas an excellent signal was obtained on the substrates with intermediate contact angles, θ ∼ 61° and θ ∼ 75°, respectively.

Concepts: Staphylococcus aureus, Printing, Inkjet printer, Ink, Contact angle, Signal-to-noise ratio, Printer, Laser printer


Black phosphorus is a two-dimensional material of great interest, in part because of its high carrier mobility and thickness dependent direct bandgap. However, its instability under ambient conditions limits material deposition options for device fabrication. Here we show a black phosphorus ink that can be reliably inkjet printed, enabling scalable development of optoelectronic and photonic devices. Our binder-free ink suppresses coffee ring formation through induced recirculating Marangoni flow, and supports excellent consistency (< 2% variation) and spatial uniformity (< 3.4% variation), without substrate pre-treatment. Due to rapid ink drying (< 10 s at < 60 °C), printing causes minimal oxidation. Following encapsulation, the printed black phosphorus is stable against long-term (> 30 days) oxidation. We demonstrate printed black phosphorus as a passive switch for ultrafast lasers, stable against intense irradiation, and as a visible to near-infrared photodetector with high responsivities. Our work highlights the promise of this material as a functional ink platform for printed devices.Atomically thin black phosphorus shows promise for optoelectronics and photonics, yet its instability under environmental conditions and the lack of well-established large-area synthesis protocols hinder its applications. Here, the authors demonstrate a stable black phosphorus ink suitable for printed ultrafast lasers and photodetectors.

Concepts: Optics, Semiconductor, Photodiode, Printing, Inkjet printer, Ink, Photonics, Optoelectronics