Category Archives: Polymer Catalysis

Drug Integrated Polymer Fiber

The work involves making fibers from biodegradable polymers using a range of processes which also is the part of the “Self Care Materials” project and “The targeted use of the fiber determines the best manufacturing process among all,” explains researchers. Ultimately, all processes create novel fibers, the nano-architecture of which is composed of numerous layers and components. On this project, delicate, light membranes with a large surface are developed by electrospinning.

“With test substances the properties of these new materials are currently being investigated”. In the end product, for instance, painkillers or antibiotics are to be incorporated into the fibers. With the intention of guaranteeing that the dosage of the active substances is exactly as needed, the scientists have developed a tricky control mechanism: Some polymers are degradable by the body under specific conditions.

fiber_optic

This feature can be used specifically. “The fibers should release their drugs into the environment at a calculated degradation rate in response to a stimulus from the body.” Such an irritation can be the changed pH value of a skin wound, which specifies that the tissue damage must be treated. As a self-care material, the fibers in the form of a garment or plaster thus support the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses.

“For an enormous number of applications, the use of self-care fibers is conceivable”. Along with chemical signals from the body, however, stimuli can also be used that are purposely set from the outside to regulate the discharge of medication by the fibers. Textiles or dressings that discharge a remedy under mild pressure or a light stimulus can add to the quality of life of patients and simultaneously relieve the load on healthcare staff.

Even the system can be used for preventive procedures. The notion behind it: Where active substances can be discharged, substances are also able to enter the fiber in the opposite direction. “Thus, the fibers measure the sugar level in the blood and can act as sensors and for instance,” Researchers Explained. With premature babies, the sugar balance is predominantly likely to be out of balance. Using such sensors, blood sugar can be tracked painlessly via the tender skin without the babies having to undergo a prickly blood sample.

3D Printed Contact Lens with Embedded LED

The hard contact lens is made of plastic. The researchers used tiny crystals, called quantum dots, to create the LEDs that generated the coloured light. Different size dots can be used to generate various colours by using quantum dots as an ink. We were able to generate two different colours, orange and green. The contact lens is also part of an on-going effort to use 3-D printing to assemble diverse, and often hard-to-combine, materials into functioning devices. Bionic ear has been created out of living cells with an embedded antenna that could receive radio signals. The main focus of the bionic ear project was to demonstrate the merger of electronics and biological materials”. The materials were often mechanically, chemically or thermally incompatible — for example, using heat to shape one material could inadvertently destroy another material in close proximity.

The team had to find ways to handle these incompatibilities and also had to develop new methods to print electronics, rather than use the techniques commonly used in the electronics industry. It is not trivial to pattern a thin and uniform coating of polymers without the involvement of conventional micro fabrication techniques, yet the thickness and uniformity of the printed films are two of the critical parameters that determine the performance and yield of the printed active device. 3-D printing replacing traditional manufacturing in electronics any time soon; instead, they are complementary technologies with very different strengths. Traditional manufacturing, which uses lithography to create electronic components, is a fast and efficient way to make multiple copies with a very high reliability.

Manufacturers are using 3-D printing, which is slow but easy to change and customize, to create molds and patterns for rapid prototyping. Prime uses for 3-D printing are situations that demand flexibility and that need to be tailored to a specific use. For example, conventional manufacturing techniques are not practical for medical devices that need to be fit to a patient’s particular shape or devices that require the blending of unusual materials in customized ways.