Recent Highlights

3-D printer builds heart-on-a-chip device

Harvard University researchers may be one step closer to replacing lab rats with lab-grown organ tissue thanks to inky chemistry and three-dimensional printing. More...

3-D-Printed Kidney Parts Just Got Closer to Reality
 

Using 3-D printing, scientists have created tiny, intricate tubes that work like key components of real kidneys.  More...

The Lancet Technology: 3D printing for instruments, models, and organs?
 

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has now reached the consumer market. This process creates three-dimensional objects under computer control using successive layers of material. More...

The Path to Printed Body Parts
 

Scientists are making steady progress toward 3-D printed tissues and organs.  More...

Lewis Lab work on multi material 3D printing featured in review in Science magazine
 

Three-dimensional (3D) printing, known more formally as additive manufacturing, has become the focus of media and public attention in recent years as the decades old technology has at last approached the performance necessary for direct production of end-use devices. More...

Pneumatic octopus is first soft, solo robot
 

US engineers have built the first ever self-contained, completely soft robot - in the shape of a small octopus. More...

Taking printing to the fourth dimension

3-D printing has come a long way since it was first developed more than thirty years ago. Now, a team of Harvard scientists have created 4D-printed structures that are capable of changing shape.  More...

Lewis elected as a NAI Fellow
 

Donald Ingber and Jennifer Lewis have been recognized as distinguished American inventors whose technologies are poised to benefit society. More...

Collegiate Inventors Competition Announces 2015 Graduate and Undergraduate Winners

Congratulations to David Kolesky, Winner of the 2015 Collegiate Inventors Competition for his invention of 3D Bioprinting Vascularized Human Tissue More...

Printed spider webs get tough
 

Using a 3D printer, researchers have created spider-web analogues out of elastic polymer threads and tweaked their architectures to maximize the webs' strength. More...

Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business 2015
 

At January’s Consumer Electronics Show, Jennifer Lewis, a biological engineering professor at Harvard with 10 patents to her name, unveiled a potentially revolutionary new technology: the world’s first 3-D printer capable of spitting out fully functional electronics. More...

Print Your Heart Out

Jennifer A. Lewis of Harvard University has adopted a different approach to the vasculature problem. Her group is using a sacrificial ink to print smaller channels, tens to hundreds of micrometers in diameter. More...

Microcapsules collect carbon dioxide

Microcapsules containing a liquid carbonate solvent could capture carbon dioxide from power plants more efficiently than existing methods. More...

2014-in-Materials: Printing Body Parts
 

Researchers showed they could use a 3-D printer to make blood vessels, overcoming a major hurdle to growing complete human organs that could serve as replacements in sick people. More...

3D Bioprinting: One of Discover's Top 100 Science Stories of 2014
 

Could tomorrow's surgeons create customized replacement tissue for patients just by hitting print? Two teams of Harvard bioengineers made big strides toward that goal in 2014, reporting two new 3-D-printing methods that help construct rudimentary blood vessels. More...

Foreign Policy's 100 Leading Global Thinkers
 

To date, labs experimenting with 3-D printing have been limited by the materials at their disposal.  After all, there is only so much you can make out of plastic.  Enter Jennifer Lewis: With her team at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Lewis is on the cutting edge of creating new "ink" materials that will revolutionize the functionality of 3-D prints.  More...

Print Thyself: How 3-D Printing is Revolutionizing Medicine
 

In February, Lewis and a graduate student, David Kolesky, and other members of their research group published a paper in Advanced Materials describing a potential way to keep large masses of cells thriving. With a customized 3-D printer, they were able to print a protein matrix and living cell types in a pattern similar to what is found in the body. Critically, they managed to create within these blocks of tissues a network of vascular channels that, much like blood vessels, can deliver nutrients to the cells and keep them alive. It isn’t 3-D-printed organs, but it is a vital advance toward that goal. “We call it 3-D bioprinting,” Lewis told me, with an emphasis on “bio.” More...

Just Press Print
 

A team of Harvard University researchers has printed living tissue interlaced with blood vessels—a crucial step toward one day transplanting human organs printed from a patient’s own cells. “That’s the ultimate goal of 3-D bio-printing,” says Jennifer Lewis, who led the research. “We are many years away from achieving this goal.”  More...

50 on Fire Finalist
 

3D printing is all the rage, but Jennifer Lewis and her team have taken it to a whole new level. This year, they developed new classes of special inks with potential application as printed electronics, waveguides, and 3D scaffolds and microvascular architectures for cell culture and tissue engineering. In other words: they’re one step closer to 3D printing a kidney. To date, the team has successfully printed human tissues, including rudimentary blood vessels.  More...

3-D Printing Steps Toward Industry
 

“We’ve turned printing on its head,” Lewis said. “That opens up a lot of material innovation space.” She believes a materials-centric approach to 3-D printing will pave the way to its broader adoption in industry in the next five to 10 years. More...

An introduction to rebuilding the body
 

Just beyond the leading edge of biomedical research lie the medical tools of the future, where smart tattoos monitor changes in glucose levels, living tissues and organs are printed on demand, and implantable electrodes connect the nervous system to prosthetic limbs. More...

Microscale 3-D Printing
 

Despite the excitement that 3-D printing has generated, its capabilities remain rather limited. It can be used to make complex shapes, but most commonly only out of plastics. Even manufacturers using an advanced version of the technology known as additive manufacturing typically have expanded the material palette only to a few types of metal alloys. But what if 3-D printers could use a wide assortment of different materials, from living cells to semiconductors, mixing and matching the “inks” with precision? More...

Artificial Organs May Finally Get a Blood Supply

Using a custom-built four-head 3-D printer and a “disappearing” ink, materials scientist Jennifer Lewis and her team created a patch of tissue containing skin cells and biological structural material interwoven with blood-vessel-like structures. Reported by the team in Advanced Materials, the tissue is the first made through 3-D printing to include potentially functional blood vessels embedded among multiple, patterned cell types. More...

Printing Batteries

By making the basic building blocks of batteries out of ink, Harvard materials scientist Jennifer Lewis is laying the groundwork for lithium-ion batteries and other high-performing electronics that can be produced with 3-D printers. More...

Our Future With 3D Printers: 7 Disrupted Industries

Designing and 3D printing electronics with optimal shape and styling properties will be common. 3D printing is ideal for the complex geometric features needed in small, compact electronic circuit boards that use multiple materials ranging from low conductivity plastics to high conductivity metal materials. A team of researchers from Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has already fabricated tiny batteries using 3D printing. The batteries can power insect-sized robots and hundreds of other minuscule devices. More...

Organs on Demand

Harvard’s Lewis, who serves as the university’s Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering, is interrogating this problem using a customized, high-resolution 3-D printer that can form microchannels in biocompatible gels. “We can print hydrogel materials down at the micron-length scale, smaller than other groups can print anything,” Lewis says. The smallest microvascular channels her group has been able to print are around 10 microns in diameter. More...

Micro Batteries

Rechargeable lithium ion batteries the size of a grain of sand, with nodes produced by a 3D printer, could power biomedical implants, coin-size sensors, and other tiny electronics. More...

Printing Tiny Batteries

3D printing can now be used to print lithium-ion microbatteries the size of a grain of sand. The printed microbatteries could supply electricity to tiny devices in fields from medicine to communications, including many that have lingered on lab benches for lack of a battery small enough to fit the device, yet provide enough stored energy to power them. More...

Featured in Nature News, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessweekScientific AmericanForbes, Discovery News, USA Today, Engadget, ScienceDailyNano Werk

 

9 Materials That Will Change The Future of Manufacturing
 

The future of manufacturing depends on a number of technological breakthroughs in robotics, sensors and high-performance computing, to name a few. But nothing will impact how things are made, and what they are capable of, more than the materials manufacturers use to make those things. New materials change both the manufacturing process and the end result. More...

http://www.electroninks.com/

 

Into the Fold
 

To create a 3-D structure, researchers in Illinois start by printing slow-drying ink of metal or ceramic particles into flat sheets (left). Such sheets can be folded and refolded into 3-D shapes as long as the ink does not dry completely. More...

Collegiate Inventors Competition

Brett Walker won second prize in the Collegiate Inventors Competition for his pioneering work on reactive silver inks. More...

Particle-free silver ink prints small, high-performance electronics
 

Electronics printed on low-cost, flexible materials hold promise for antennas, batteries, sensors, solar energy, wearable devices and more. Most conductive inks rely on tiny metal particles suspended in the ink. The new ink is a transparent solution of silver acetate and ammonia. The silver remains dissolved in the solution until it is printed, and the liquid evaporates, yielding conductive features. More...

How to: Make silver ink that conducts electricity

This custom silver ink, developed by materials researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, allows you to draw working circuits out on paper. It's extremely cool, and the video shows you step-by-step how they make it. Bonus: This ink provides an actual reason to use cursive. More...

Featured in C&EN's Science is Awesome: Top 10 Video Clips of the Year

Small 3D Antennas
 

While most electronic components benefit from decreased size, antennas - whether in a cell phone or on an aircraft - suffer limitations in gain, efficiency, system range, and bandwidth when their size is reduced below a quarter-wavelength. "Omnidirectional printing of metallic nanoparticle inks offers an attractive alternative for meeting the demanding form factors of 3D electrically small antennas (ESAs)," stated Jennifer A. Lewis, the Hans Thurnauer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at Illinois. "To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of 3D printed antennas on curvilinear surfaces," Lewis stated. The research findings and fabrication methods developed by Bernhard, Lewis, and their colleagues are featured in the cover article of the March 18 issue of Advanced Materials ("Conformal Printing of Electrically Small Antennas on Three-Dimensional Surfaces"). More...

 

Printed Origami Structures

Origami, the traditional paper art, is a folding technique in which elegant and complex three-dimensional (3D) objects are produced from planar sheets. Significant scientific and technological interest in origami assembly methods have emerged due to the recognition that nature utilizes controlled folding and unfolding schemes to produce intricate architectures ranging from proteins to plants. More...

 

NewScientist Tech - Blingtronics: Diamonds are a geek's best friend

 

The most marketable bling technology might be wrapped into something that you take with you everywhere. It could transform your favourite gadgets, including cellphones and music players - by incorporating them into your clothing. "Rather than carrying your iPod, the whole electronic system could be embedded in your jacket," says Jennifer Lewis, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. More...

 

Technology Review: Light, Tough Origami Ceramics

 

A new way of printing and folding ceramic and metal lattices into miniature structures could lead to novel lightweight engineering structures. The technique involves making latticed sheets from ceramic ink, then folding and heating these sheets to create intricate shapes. The method could be used to make lightweight parts for aerospace applications, complex scaffolds for tissue engineering, and filters and catalysts for industrial chemical production. More...

 

PopSci: Tiny Titanium Origami Highlights New Method Of Micro-Construction

 

While three-dimensional printing has come a long way, engineers still struggle with fabricating objects smaller than a quarter. In those small structures, the upper layers crush and distort the weak lower ones. To solve this problem, researchers at the University of Illinois have come up with a novel solution: print out a flat sheet, and then fold it, origami style, into the desired shape. Creating this origami crane as proof of concept, the researchers have hit upon a technique that could produce any number of microscopic medical or mechanical devices through folding, rather than layered printing. More...

Emerging Themes in Soft Matter: Responsive and Active Soft Materials

 

Biomimetic microvascular networks with complex architectures are embedded in epoxy matrices using direct-write assembly. Fluid transport in multi-generation bifurcating channels is systematically investigated and maximum flow efficiency is found to occur when Murray's law is obeyed. More...

 

Self-healing Networks Mimic Nature

 

A new method to make complex microvascular networks could revolutionise tissue engineering, claim US scientists. Nature is full of examples of vascular networks, such as blood vessels in the human body and veins in leaves that transport fluid or other substances to promote growth and healing. Jennifer Lewis at the University of Illinois and colleagues have developed a technique to mimic these networks on a polymer matrix. The polymer system makes it capable of self healing, allowing any cracks or tears to be healed making it stronger and more durable than previous attempts. More...

Liquid Driven Folding

 

Fabrication of 3D electronic structures in the micrometer-to-millimeter range is extremely challenging due to the inherently 2D nature of most conventional wafer-based fabrication methods. Self-assembly, and the related method of self-folding of planar patterned membranes, provide a promising means to solve this problem. Here, we investigate self-assembly processes driven by wetting interactions to shape the contour of a functional, nonplanar photovoltaic (PV) device. A mechanics model based on the theory of thin plates is developed to identify the critical conditions for self-folding of different 2D geometrical shapes. This strategy is demonstrated for specifically designed millimeter-scale silicon objects, which are self-assembled into spherical, and other 3D shapes and integrated into fully functional light-trapping PV devices. The resulting 3D devices offer a promising way to efficiently harvest solar energy in thin cells using concentrator microarrays that function without active light tracking systems. More...

 

Science: Exploiting Evaporation

 

There are many approaches available to pattern soft materials such as colloidal films, but they often require multiple processing steps and allow deposition of only a few particle layers. A method called evaporative lithography overcomes these limitations, and Harris et al. now show that the method also enables the creation of patterns from binary mixtures of particles. More...

Silk Fibroin Waveguides: Biocompatible Silk Printed Optical Waveguides

 

The cover shows an artistic rendition that merges silk and fiber optics. Supercontinuum white light is guided through a glass optical fiber that surrounds and illuminates silkworm cocoons. The silkworm cocoons shown here are used as the starting point of an extraction process to isolate pure silk fibroin protein in an aqueous solution. The silk is then reconstituted in the form of optical waveguides, as described by Fiorenzo Omenetto and co-workers on p. 2411, opening new opportunities to guide light in an entirely organic and biocompatible material. More...

 

Nature Materials: Printing in all directions

 

Directing ink through a cylindrical nozzle onto a substrate is a promising method for printing metallic electrodes for electronic devices. Until now, however, the technique has had several restrictions: nozzle clogging, relatively large features (~100 um) and deposition that is constrained to the x–yplane. Jennifer A. Lewis and co-workers have created highly concentrated silver nanoparticle inks that can be printed in three dimensions in air without clogging. More...

New Silver-based Nanoparticle Ink Could Lead to Better Flexible Printed Electronics

 

A new ink developed by researchers at the University of Illinois allows them to write their own silver linings.

The ink, composed of silver nanoparticles, can be used in electronic and optoelectronic applications to create flexible, stretchable and spanning microelectrodes that carry signals from one circuit element to another. The printed microelectrodes can withstand repeated bending and stretching with minimal change in their electrical properties. More...

Read the original Science article here.

 

Technology Review: A Nanoparticle Glue Gun

 

Flexible printed electronics and solar-cell arrays promise to be cheaper and more versatile than their rigid counterparts. But their components still need to be linked by tiny metal electrodes in order to get electrons flowing through a device. A new silver-nanoparticle ink could be just the thing for printing high-performance electrical connections for flexible devices. More...

This work has also been featured in:

MarketWatch, Product Design & Development, Science Centric, AZOmaterials, e! Science NewsNanotechnology NowPhysOrg, The Post ChronicleredOrbitThe Money TimesUPI.cominsciences.org, Times of the Internet

Solar cells go round the bend

 

With high oil prices sparking a surge of interest in alternative energy sources, solar cells have become the subject of intense research. Much of this effort focuses on finding new designs that open up fresh applications. John Rogers and colleagues now report just such a development (J. Yoon et al. Nature Mater. doi:10.1038/nmat2287; 2008) - tiny, ultrathin cells made of silicon that, when fixed in arrays on a flexible substrate, create large, bendy solar cells (pictured). More...

 

New York Times: A New Flexibility With Thin Solar Cells

 

Photovoltaic cells, the basic building blocks of solar panels, are more efficient and less costly than ever. But manipulating cells (which are usually made of semiconductor materials) and incorporating them into different panel designs is not necessarily easy. More...

 

SciAm 50: Material World

 

Cut your finger, and your body starts mending the wound even before you have had time to go and find a Band-Aid. Synthetic materials are not so forgiving, but Nancy R. Sottos, Scott R. White and their colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are looking to change all that. They developed a self-healing plastic that contains a three dimensional network of microscopic capillaries filled with a liquid healing agent. More...

 

Material: Heal Thyself

 

In a display of nature's restorative powers, human skin has the ability to heal itself when cut. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois have invented materials that do the same thing. More...

Sol-gel Inks Produce Complex Shapes With Nanoscale Features

 

New sol-gel inks developed by researchers at the University of Illinois can be printed into patterns to producage three-dimensional structures of metal oxides with nanoscale features. More...

 

Inverse woodpile structure has extremely large photonic band gap of 25%

 

The latest photonic device built by researchers at the University of Illinois, a so-called inverse woodpile structure, is made of germanium which has a higher refractive index than silicon. "Until now, all woodpile structures have been composed of solid or hollow rods in an air matrix," said Paul Braun, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Their new germanium matrix containing a periodic array of tubular holes has one of the widest photonic band gaps ever reported (as large as 25%). "In many applications, from low-threshold lasers to highly efficient solar cells, photonic crystals with wide band gaps may be required". 

 

Self-Healing Plastic

ScienCentral News and WBKO - Even high tech machines like the space shuttle need the occasional repair. But what if materials like plastics could repair themselves? As this ScienCentral News video reports, scientists are doing just that by imitating how our bodies work to heal small wounds. More...

 

Plastics That Seals Its Own Cracks

 

(BusinessWeek) - Plants and animals can repair themselves thanks to circulatory systems that carry healing agents to wounded tissue. Researchers at the Univ. of Illinois have created a new plastic that fixes itself the same way. The material is embedded with channels about as wide as a human hair. More...

 

Cover of Advanced Materials, Vol. 19, Issue 12

Germanium inverse woodpile 3D photonic crystals with a large (25%) photonic band gap in the infrared (background image) were fabricated through a multistep replication procedure. A polymer scaffold was first created by direct-write assembly, followed by the conformal growth of oxide and semiconductor layers, and removal of the polymer and oxide (foreground), as reported on p. 1567 by Paul Braun, Jennifer Lewis, and co-workers.

Also see solid state and materials research news in Physica Status Solidi (RRL).