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Fabrication of large-scale scaffolds with microscale features using light sheet stereolithography

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The common characteristics that make scaffolds suitable for human tissue substitutes include high porosity, microscale features, and pores interconnectivity. Too often, however, these characteristics are limiting factors for the scalability of different fabrication approaches, particularly in bioprinting techniques, in which either poor resolution, small areas, or slow processes hinder practical use in certain applications. An excellent example is bioengineered scaffolds for wound dressings, in which microscale pores in large surface-to-volume ratio scaffolds must be manufactured – ideally fast, precise, and cheap, and where conventional printing methods do not readily meet both ends. In this work, we propose an alternative vat photopolymerization technique to fabricate centimeter-scale scaffolds without losing resolution. We used laser beam shaping to first modify the profile of the voxels in 3D printing, resulting in a technology we refer to as light sheet stereolithography (LS-SLA). For proof of concept, we developed a system from commercially available off-the-shelf components to demonstrate strut thicknesses up to 12.8 ± 1.8 μm, tunable pore sizes ranging from 36 μm to 150 μm, and scaffold areas up to 21.4 mm × 20.6 mm printed in a short time. Furthermore, the potential to fabricate more complex and three-dimensional scaffolds was demonstrated with a structure composed of six layers, each rotated by 45° with respect to the previous. Besides the demonstrated high resolution and achievable large scaffold sizes, we found that LS-SLA has great potential for scaling-up of applied oriented technology for tissue engineering applications. 
Journal: International Journal of Bioprinting
ISSN: 2424-8002
Issue: 2
Volume: 9
Pages: 27-38
Publication year:2023