Part II: nanoprinting with FluidFM

Recollection of 2022 publications using FluidFM technology

The year 2022 featured a total of 19 FluidFM publications and 3 reviews! In the first part of our recollection, we discussed reviews about FluidFM.

Here, we highlight publications that employed FluidFM for 3D printing at the nano- and microscale.

Discover 2022 publications using FluidFM for nanoprinting 

3D printing of nanopatterns to study platelet activation

Gurunath Apte and Michael Hirtz from the Karlsruhe Institute of technology develop an exciting new application of FluidFM technology: the fabrication of nanopatterns to study platelet activation. This study shows that nanoprinted surfaces enable the inhibition of platelet adhesion and subsequent activation on surfaces, revealing that nanopatterns can be utilized to extend the storage lifetime of platelet concentrates.

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3D printing of polymer structures, from the nano- to the microscale

Researchers from the lab of Michael Hirtz at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany show that FluidFM represents a powerful tool for 3D printing of micro- and nano-structures. The authors use FluidFM to print on surfaces with different wetting properties as well as integrate molecules with different functional groups – such as the fluorescent label rhodamine or the protein binding tag biotin - into the base polymer ink. This FluidFM-based approach can contribute to the development of 3D printing for biological applications.

Image and Text

Schematic of the printing process. Once the FluidFM Nanopipette is filled with functionalized adhesive ink, FluidFM can be used to 3D print different types of patterns (dots, lines, grids and squares) to generate micro- and nanostructures. Figure adapted from Berganza et al Polymers 2022 (License: CC-BY-4.0) 

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Investigating how surface physicochemistry influences bacterial attachment and detachment

Fei Pan and colleagues combine simulations and experiments to investigate how bacterial attachment and detachment is impacted by PDMS substrates that have different degrees of crosslinking. FluidFM enables the authors to measure bacterial single cell adhesion forces, and combining experimental findings to simulations allows them to conclude that that the process of detachment in single bacterial cells is determined by substrate interfacial physicochemistry rather than the mechanical property of the substrate. 

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3D printing nanoscale polymeric structures

Pattison et al use FluidFM as a 3D printing platform to create 3D micro- and nanostructures of reactive polymer materials. FluidFM technology is used to deliver a crosslinkable polymer to a catalysed substrate where polymerization occurs very rapidly, which allows for construction of lines and patterns with multiple layers even at the nanoscale. This study highlights the promising use of FluidFM-based 3D nanoprinting for applications in device fabrication, optical systems and biotechnology.

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3D printing of metal microstructures

Shen and colleagues assess the ability of FluidFM as a method for electrochemical 3D printing of Ni-Mn and Ni-Co alloy structures, an application that enables fabrication of innovative products like metal microstructures. The authors demonstrate that FluidFM technology can be successfully used to manufacture highly dense metal microstructures that have uniform distribution of alloy components. 

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