Laser-Assisted Bioprinting: Technology for Engineering Biomaterials

by | Jan 25, 2021 | Health

Laser-assisted bioprinting is an advanced and innovative technology that uses lasers to engineer biological materials into larger, functional structures one layer at a time. Bioprinting is similar, for example, to the way 3D printers follow blueprints programmed into digital files to form materials such as plastic into engineered structures. But with bioprinting, the technology uses viable biomaterials that are printed to formulate structures that mimic the biostructures found in nature. There are three main types of bioprinters (inkjet-based, pressure-assisted, and laser-assisted), each with different advantages and limitations. The laser-assisted model of bioprinting is the most recently developed technology of the three, and functions using lasers to print biomaterials such as cells or liquid materials onto a substrate. This advanced use of lasers to assist bioprinting has advanced scientific capabilities.

Lasers allow biomaterial to be printed with extremely high resolution, even as precise as the cell-level or picoliter-level. Previous technologies were not advanced enough for this to be possible. In other words, lasers used in bioprinting can precisely deposit cells on a microscopic scale in order to construct the 2-D and 3-D biostructures that are becoming increasingly identical to the organic tissues they are modeled from. Such high-resolution printing allows scientists to engineer biomaterial structures with unprecedented speed and precision, which is especially useful in structural organization and accuracy. This technology can create tissue-like materials and organ-like structures with real physiological capabilities. Bioprinting is a rapidly developing technology that will lead to advancements in medicine, drug development, and even cosmetics.

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