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High throughput bioprinting with individualized piezoelectric ejectors


We have demonstrated a high throughput bioprinting system with an array of twelve piezoelectric ejectors. Each single ejector is 8mm in diameter and stands 4 mm tall, with two reservoirs totaling 76ƒÝl. These ejectors are made from stainless steel layers bonded together at high temperature. Each layer is chemically etched to generate two-dimensional patterns and subsequently stacked together to create a three-dimensional fluid path. The top-most layer has a laser-drilled drop exit aperture that is 75 ƒÝm in diameter. Actuation is achieved by pulsing a piezo ceramic element attached to a diaphragm at one of the bottom layers. Micro droplets of fluid as small as 100 pl are ejected at controllable frequency, up to several kHz. Droplet volume can be precisely controlled and fluid utilization is 95%. Reliable drop ejection in humidity-controlled and ambient environments over extended periods of time was confirmed. A rack of 12 ejectors on a precision X-Y stage allows printing of any pattern desired. These ejectors can be pre-filled with reagents or biological materials including oligos, protein, genomic DNA, or cells and stored refrigerated. Single ejectors could be racked in multiples of 96 that match wellplate pitch to facilitate liquid transfer. System with such individualized ejectors eliminates plumbing problems that plague traditional inkjet bioprinters and allows ultra high throughput generation of arrays. Up to 100,000 low to medium density arrays per 8-hr shift is possible. We envision using these single or racked ejectors as long-term storage vessels for biomaterials, which will enable efficient custom arrays and reduce cross-contamination and loss due to transfer. A new generation of design ideas includes plastic injection-molded ejectors that are inexpensive and disposable and handheld personal pipettes for nanoliter liquid transfer.

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Hsieh, H. B. ; Fitch, J. ; White, D. ; Torres, F. ; Matusiak, R. ; Krivacic, B. ; Kowalski, R. ; Bruce, R. H. ; Elrod, S. A. High throughput bioprinting with individualized piezoelectric ejectors. Bio-Printing and Bio-Patterning Workshop; 2004 September 27-28; Manchester UK.


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