Applied tutorial for the design and fabrication of biomicrofluidic devices by resin 3D printing

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Stereolithographic (SL) 3D printing, especially digital light processing (DLP) printing, is a promising rapid fabrication method for bio-microfluidic applications such as clinical tests, lab-on-a-chip devices, and sensor integrated devices. The benefits of 3D printing lead many to believe this fabrication method will accelerate the use of microfluidics, but there are a number of potential obstacles to overcome for bioanalytical labs to fully utilize this technology. For commercially available printing materials, this includes challenges in producing prints with the print resolution and mechanical stability required for a particular design, along with cytotoxic components within many SL resins and low optical compatibility for imaging experiments. Potential solutions to these problems are scattered throughout the literature and rarely available in head-to-head comparisons. Therefore, we present here a concise guide to the principles of resin 3D printing most relevant for fabrication of bioanalytical microfluidic devices. Intended to quickly orient labs that are new to 3D printing, the tutorial includes the results of selected systematic tests to inform resin selection, strategies for design optimization, and improvement of biocompatibility of resin 3D printed bio-microfluidic devices.

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