Medicines can be printed in seven seconds in a new 3D-printing technique. It can enable rapid on-site production of medicines. This is according to a UCL-led research team.
The findings were published in the journal. The findings will improve the prospects of how 3D printers could be integrated into fast-paced clinical settings for on-demand production of personalized medicines.
Scientists loaded printlets with paracetamol. It is one of many medicines that can be produced with a 3D printer.
One of the leading techniques for 3D printing is vat photo polymerisation. It affords the highest resolution for complexity at microscales. It also suits many medications as it does not require high heat. The technique uses a resin formulation, for printing medicines. It constitutes the required drug dissolved in a solution of a photoreactive chemical. It is activated by light to solidify the resin into a printed tablet.
Due to its layer-by-layer approach, vat polymerisation has been hampered by slow printing speeds. Scientists have developed a new vat polymerisation technique that prints the entire object all at once. It also reduces the printing speed from multiple minutes to just seven to 17 seconds. This works by shining multiple images of the object viewed at different angles.
The amount of light shone gradually accumulates, until it reaches a point at which polymerisation occurs. Scientists adjusted the intensity of light at different angles and overlaps. All points of the 3D object in the resin can reach this threshold at the same time. It causes the entire 3D object to solidify simultaneously.