Amazingly detailed laboratories, smaller than a fingertip
The Pharmaceutical Analysis group at the University of Groningen is performing a lot of research in the area of Lab-on-a-chip. These extremely small devices (the size of a fingertip) are used for many applications, including diagnostic tests and other applications in pharmaceutical analysis and the life sciences in general.
Portable lab-chips allow researchers to perform tests on physiological fluids on a very small scale so they require less time and much smaller amounts of sample and other essential test reagents. Research in the lab-on-a-chip area requires many customized devices, cartridges, holders and other experimental tools. This is where 3D printing really proves its value!
Prototyping on a professional level
3D printing enables the Pharmaceutical Analysis group to continuously print, test, modify and retest their prototypes. The possibility to create endless numbers of prototypes in-house at low cost dramatically reduces development times and gives researchers extra experimental freedom. The accuracy and consistent reliability of a good 3D printer is crucial for the experimental use of 3D-printed parts on a high professional level.
Further research and 3D printing
This academic group started with the FELIX 2.0 in 2012 and upgraded to version 3.0 when it was released. 3D printers have become more accurate, more reliable and also more affordable. The researchers in the Pharmaceutical Analysis group thus see great opportunities and a growing demand for the use of 3D printers in the near future.
For more information about 3D printing in scientific applications, click here