Simple and customizable method for fabrication of high-aspect ratio microneedle molds using low-cost 3D printing

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Title: Simple and customizable method for fabrication of high-aspect ratio microneedle molds using low-cost 3D printing
Authors: Krieger, KevinBertollo, NickyDangol, ManitaSheridan, John T.Lowery, Madeleine M.O'Cearbhaill, Eoin D.
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Date: 9-Sep-2019
Online since: 2020-07-03T15:36:55Z
Abstract: We present a simple and customizable microneedle mold fabrication technique using a low-cost desktop SLA 3D printer. As opposed to conventional microneedle fabrication methods, this technique neither requires complex and expensive manufacturing facilities nor expertise in microfabrication. While most low-cost 3D-printed microneedles to date display low aspect ratios and poor tip sharpness, we show that by introducing a two-step “Print & Fill” mold fabrication method, it is possible to obtain high-aspect ratio sharp needles that are capable of penetrating tissue. Studying first the effect of varying design input parameters and print settings, it is shown that printed needles are always shorter than specified. With decreasing input height, needles also begin displaying an increasingly greater than specified needle base diameter. Both factors contribute to low aspect ratio needles when attempting to print sub-millimeter height needles. By setting input height tall enough, it is possible to print needles with high-aspect ratios and tip radii of 20–40 µm. This tip sharpness is smaller than the specified printer resolution. Consequently, high-aspect ratio sharp needle arrays are printed in basins which are backfilled and cured in a second step, leaving sub-millimeter microneedles exposed resulting microneedle arrays which can be used as male masters. Silicone female master molds are then formed from the fabricated microneedle arrays. Using the molds, both carboxymethyl cellulose loaded with rhodamine B as well as polylactic acid microneedle arrays are produced and their quality examined. A skin insertion study is performed to demonstrate the functional capabilities of arrays made from the fabricated molds. This method can be easily adopted by the microneedle research community for in-house master mold fabrication and parametric optimization of microneedle arrays.
Funding Details: European Commission Horizon 2020
Irish Research Council
Science Foundation Ireland
metadata.dc.description.othersponsorship: Insight Research Centre
National University of Ireland
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
Journal: Microsystems & Nanoengineering
Volume: 5
Issue: 42
Copyright (published version): 2019 the Authors
Keywords: Personal sensingMicroneedle arrays3D printing
DOI: 10.1038/S41378-019-0088-8
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Mechanical & Materials Engineering Research Collection
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Research Collection
Insight Research Collection

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