Laser Processing of Biological Materials
Patz, Timothy Matthew
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I have explored the use of the matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE) and MAPLE direct write (MDW) to create thin films of biological materials. MAPLE is a novel physical vapor deposition technique used to deposit thin films of organic materials. The MAPLE process involves the laser desorption of a frozen dilute solution (1-5%) containing the material to be deposited. A focused laser pulse (~200 mJ/cm2) impacts the frozen target, which causes the solvent to preferentially absorb the laser energy and evaporate. The collective action of the evaporated solvent desorbs the polymeric solute material towards the receiving substrate placed parallel and opposite to the target. The bioresorbable polymer PDLLA and the anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical dexamethasone were processed using MAPLE, and characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. MDW is a CAD/CAM controlled direct writing process. The material to be transferred is immersed in a laser-absorbing matrix or solution and coated onto a target or support positioned microns to millimeters away from a receiving substrate. Using a UV microscope objective, a focused laser pulse is directed at the backside of the ribbon, so that the laser energy first interacts with the matrix at the ribbon/matrix interface. This energy is used to gently desorb the depositing material and matrix onto the receiving substrate. I have deposited neuroblasts within a three-dimensional extracellular matrix. These two laser processing techniques have enormous potential for functional medical device and tissue engineering applications.