Monday, September 26, 2011
Printing blood vessels
BBC reports: [edited]
3D printing technology has been increasingly used in numerous industries, ranging from creating clothes, architectural models and even chocolate treats.
But this time, Dr Tovar's team had a much more challenging printing mission. To print something as small and complex as a blood vessel, the scientists combined the 3D printing technology with two-photon polymerisation - shining intense laser beams onto the material to stimulate the molecules in a very small focus point.
The material then becomes an elastic solid, allowing the researchers to create highly precise and elastic structures that would be able to interact with a human body's natural tissue. So that the synthetic tubes do not get rejected by the living organism, their walls are coated with modified biomolecules.