JPSA UV Laser Micro-machines Pores, Channels in Revolutionary ‘Liver Chip’ Biomedical Device

In the world of cutting-edge biotechnology, one unique project designed to culture liver tissue, pioneered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), may one day soon save lives. The cell-holding scaffolds are made of laser-machined polymers (Polycarbonate, Polyethylene Terephthalate, and Polyimide). Extremely small channels and pores in the polymer scaffolds are micro-machined using highly precise UV excimer lasers custom designed by J P Sercel Associates (JPSA) in Hollis, New Hampshire, USA.

(PRWEB) November 15, 2004 -- In the world of cutting-edge biotechnology, one unique project designed to culture liver tissue, pioneered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), may one day soon save lives. The cell-holding scaffolds are made of laser-machined polymers (Polycarbonate, Polyethylene Terephthalate, and Polyimide). Extremely small channels and pores in the polymer scaffolds are micro-machined using highly precise UV excimer lasers custom designed by J P Sercel Associates (JPSA) in Hollis, New Hampshire, USA.

The UV laser micro-machining application was developed in JPSA’s Applications Laboratory. “Excimer laser micromachining is ideal for this application for a variety of reasons” says Jeffrey P. Sercel, President. “Short-wavelength UV laser energy is ideal for clean-cutting, drilling, and shaping polymer and other materials that are difficult to micro-machine using other technologies. Although an etching process can be used, such as reactive ion etching, UV laser technology allows processing of materials such as polycarbonate and polycyclo-olefins that offer favorable characteristics for biomedical applications.”

In process, very fine and measured amounts of material are removed as a plasma plume by “photo-ablation” with each laser pulse, leaving a cleanly-sculpted pore, channel, or feature.

The large size characteristic of the UV excimer laser beam allows it to be separated into multiple beamlets through near-field imaging techniques, so that multiple pores, for example, can be simultaneously bored with each laser pulse. Imaging techniques also allow sub-micron resolution so that nano features can be effectively controlled and shaped. Manufacturing specifications require JPSA to micro-machine scaffold thickness of 250 microns and channel depth of 200 microns, with pore depth of 50 microns.

The concept of the “Liver Chip” was developed by a team led by Linda Griffith, Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering, and Karel Domansky, Research Scientist. The “Liver Chip” represents a perfect example of systems biology as a model for human disease and as a tool in early drug discovery and development. Primary cells from liver are introduced into the new technology to support development of the three-dimensional structures of a functioning liver. The chip is made with tiny channels that provide simulated blood flow. These channels supply the cells with the correct nutrients and hormones to promote growth of tissue architecture and function. The chip’s creators are also working with industry to develop the liver chip as a tool for drug discovery and development, including drug metabolism and toxicology, simulating the liver regulation network in the lab as a model for human disease. Each year thousands of liver transplants are required but the supply does not always meet the demand. Research facilitated by the liver chip will promote a better understanding of liver health, provide insight into disease prevention and reduce the need for liver transplants.

JPSA products and services include UV excimer and DPSS laser micro machining systems, UV and VUV laser beam delivery systems, UV laser materials processing development, optical damage testing, and excimer laser refurbishment services. JPSA Laser operates a high-performance UV laser job shop as well as a systems engineering and manufacturing business.

For more information, visit www.jpsalaser.com, or contact the company at 17D Clinton Drive, Hollis, NH 03049 USA, Tel. 603.595.7048, fax 603.598.3835. E-mail: e-mail protected from spam bots.

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Source :  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2004/11/prweb178438.htm