3D-Printed Microinjection Needle Arrays via a Hybrid DLP-Direct Laser Writing Strategy

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Sarker, S., Colton, A., Wen, Z., Xu, X., Erdi, M., Jones, A., Kofinas, P., Tubaldi, E., Walczak, P., Janowski, M., Liang, Y., Sochol, R. D., 3D-Printed Microinjection Needle Arrays via a Hybrid DLP-Direct Laser Writing Strategy. Adv. Mater. Technol. 2023, 8, 2201641.


Microinjection protocols are ubiquitous throughout biomedical fields, with hollow microneedle arrays (MNAs) offering distinctive benefits in both research and clinical settings. Unfortunately, manufacturing-associated barriers remain a critical impediment to emerging applications that demand high-density arrays of hollow, high-aspect-ratio microneedles. To address such challenges, here, a hybrid additive manufacturing approach that combines digital light processing (DLP) 3D printing with “ex situ direct laser writing (esDLW)” is presented to enable new classes of MNAs for fluidic microinjections. Experimental results for esDLW-based 3D printing of arrays of high-aspect-ratio microneedles—with 30 µm inner diameters, 50 µm outer diameters, and 550 µm heights, and arrayed with 100 µm needle-to-needle spacing—directly onto DLP-printed capillaries reveal uncompromised fluidic integrity at the MNA-capillary interface during microfluidic cyclic burst-pressure testing for input pressures in excess of 250 kPa (n = 100 cycles). Ex vivo experiments perform using excised mouse brains reveal that the MNAs not only physically withstand penetration into and retraction from brain tissue but also yield effective and distributed microinjection of surrogate fluids and nanoparticle suspensions directly into the brains. In combination, the results suggest that the presented strategy for fabricating high-aspect-ratio, high-density, hollow MNAs could hold unique promise for biomedical microinjection applications.