Additive and subtractive manufacturing testbed for creating next generation electrically, optically and thermally – activated biomaterials

 The NCLA Laser Laboratory in partnership with SFI centres CURÁM Medical Devices, IPIC Irish Photonics Integration Centre and I-Form Advance Manufacturing is developing a new pilot manufacturing test-bed for next generation medical devices.

 The system will demonstrate the manufacturability of new technologies at the interface of printed electronics and bioprinting.

 The system consists of three connected sealed modules. A laser based micro-structuring module will create structured surfaces for microfluidics and embedded electronics. A dry materials additive module will use inkjet and spray tools to create structured conductive/ non-conductive surfaces. A bioprinting module will apply living cells and other life-supporting biomaterials. The ability to integrate electronic, optical, and thermal stimuli in flexible medical devices will be transformative –changing the way we connect with, and use, future healthcare products

Laser enabled multi-materials manufacturing


3D Pilot-line large



While the infrastructure addresses future biomedical needs, the scope is firmly centred on materials processing. Every aspect of the project exploits the huge potential for short and ultra-short pulsed laser matter interactions. The challenge is to transform drop-based printing of multiple electronic- and bio-materials using pre- and post- laser processes.

  • Advanced laser processes will be used to structure microfluidics, to create landing sites for electronic die and flexible batteries, and to drill crack free via holes through thin brittle substrates.
  • Laser processes will structure surfaces prior to and after drop based printing by inkjet or spray. Pre-processing by laser will improve drop surface interactions, post processes will sinter or cure.
  • Conversely selective laser patterning of thin films and surfaces can be promptly filled with drop-based electronic or bio-inks, and subsequent sintered and cured in the same process scan.

Laser and Drop-based Printing Technologies

Pilot Line Schematic 

The infrastructure exploits the interplay between laser and drop based printing technologies, to produce electronically activated biomaterials on a high volume manufacturing platform compatible with roll to roll, sheet to sheet and cylindrical manufacturing systems.







This project has received funding from the Science Foundation Ireland’s Infrastructure call in 2016 under contract 16/RI/3761.

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