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Producing Sensors With an Inkjet Printer

By Technical ­niversity of Munich (Germany)

June 25, 2018

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Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany have collaborated on a system that can three-dimensionally (3D) print microelectrode arrays directly onto soft substrates, including gelatin.

TUM's Bernhard Wolfrum and colleagues used electrodes printed with carbon-based ink, with a neutral protective layer added to the carbon paths to prevent pickup of stray signals.

The team evaluated the inkjet-printing process using polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and other substrates.

Cell-culture experiments showed that sensors printed through this process yield reliable measurements, and also enable measurements on a single cell or only a few cells.

"The difficulty is in fine-tuning all of the components—both the technical setup of the printer and the composition of the ink," says TUM's Nouran Adly. "In the case of PDMS, for example, we had to use a pre-treatment we developed just to get the ink to adhere to the surface."

From Technical University of Munich (Germany)
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