Monolithic 3D labs- and organs-on-chips obtained by lithography-based ceramic manufacture
In this study, we present a novel approach for the design and development of three-dimensional monolithic ceramic microsystems with complex geometries and with potential applications in the biomedical field, mainly linked to labs-on-chips and organs-on-chips. The microsystem object of study stands out for its having a complex three-dimensional geometry, for being obtained as a single integrated element, hence reducing components, preventing leakage and avoiding post-processes, and for having a cantilever porous ceramic membrane aimed at separating cell culture chambers at different levels, which imitates the typical configuration of transwell assays. The design has been performed taking account of the special features of the manufacturing technology and includes ad hoc incorporated supporting elements, which do not affect overall performance, for avoiding collapse of the cantilever ceramic membrane during debinding and sintering. The manufacture of the complex three-dimensional microsystem has been accomplished by means of lithography-based ceramic manufacture, the additive manufacturing technology which currently provides the most appealing compromises between overall part size and precision when working with ceramic materials. The microsystem obtained provides one of the most remarkable examples of monolithic bio-microsystems and, to our knowledge, a step forward in the field of ceramic microsystems with complex geometries for lab-on-chip and organ-on-chip applications. Cell culture results help to highlight the potential of the proposed approach and the adequacy of using ceramic materials for biological applications and for interacting at a cellular level.
KeywordsLithography-based ceramic manufacture Labs-on-chips Organs-on-chips Ceramic materials processing Biomedical microsystems MEMS Bio-MEMS
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