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Ultrasound enhances 3D printing capabilities in deep tissue applications

2023-12-18 16:54

Researchers from Duke University and Harvard Medical School have made significant progress in the field of 3D printing by developing a biocompatible ink that utilizes ultrasound to solidify deep tissues. This innovative technology can create three-dimensional structures in the biomedical field, such as bone healing and heart valve repair. This technology has recently been published in the journal Science, providing a new method for 3D printing in the medical field.

Traditional 3D printing methods, especially those in the biomedical field, face limitations due to their reliance on light and inability to penetrate deep tissues. The newly developed deep penetration acoustic volume printing (DVAP) method uses a specialized ink called acoustic ink, which can react to sound waves rather than light. This method greatly expands the scope of 3D printing and can accurately print deep tissues.

DVAP utilizes the acoustic thermal effect for operation, and the absorbed sound waves will raise the temperature, causing the ink to solidify. Sonic ink is a mixture of hydrogels, microparticles and molecules, specially designed for ultrasound. This ultrasonic printing technology was pioneered by Junjie Yao of Duke University. It can print a variety of structures, such as bone scaffolds and hydrogel bubbles for organs.

Associate Professor Yao Junjie from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University said, "Due to our ability to use tissue printing, there are many potential applications for surgeries and treatments that traditionally involve invasive and destructive methods. This work has opened up an exciting new path in the field of 3D printing, and we are pleased to explore the potential of this tool together."


The multifunctionality of DVAP is further demonstrated through its adjustable components, enabling the creation of structures with different durability and degradability. The research team successfully conducted sealing experiments on goat heart slices, tissue regeneration experiments on chicken leg bone defect models, and therapeutic drug delivery experiments using ink injected with chemotherapy drugs in liver tissue. These tests demonstrate the potential of DVAP in various medical applications without damaging surrounding tissues