Feb 28, 2017 | By Tess

Professor Michael Breadmore, from the University of Tasmania, has received a $630,000 grant from the Australian Research Council to advance research on 3D printing and portable analytical systems. As part of the research, Breadmore and his team will reportedly work alongside Taiwan-based 3D printing company Young Optics to develop a high-resolution, high-speed 3D printer for the new technology.

Professor Michael Breadmore

Breadmore specializes in analytical chemistry, a field of study dedicated to tools and processes used to separate, identify, and quantify matter. More specifically, the professor has been working on lab-on-a-chip portable analytical devices, which offer users the potential to test samples and receive results on the fly. Lab-on-a-chip technology, which we’ve written about on numerous occasions, has the potential to radically advance analytical applications in the clinical, forensic, environmental, and industrial sectors.

Examples of well known portable analytical systems include home pregnancy and blood-alcohol tests. According to Breadmore, however, ongoing research and technologies like 3D printing could open the doors for more complex analytical systems. “My research, for probably about the last 10 years, has been trying to make analytical technology portable so that we can get chemical information at the sites where we collect samples,” he said. “It means that we will be able to engineer things on the order of the size of a cell.”

The researcher’s key areas of interest for portable analytical systems have been centered on the detection of trace levels of pharmaceutical pollutants in water, the detection of pharmaceuticals in biological fluids, and the detection of homemade explosives.

“Being able to analyse samples—of blood, or explosives residue, measuring the health of mussels, or anything else—on the spot, as needed, has the potential to revolutionise so many industries and impact a society in a completely different way,” says Breadmore on his University of Tasmania webpage. The new $630K in funding will help to move Breadmore’s innovative research along.

As mentioned, the grant money will allow Breadmore and his team to collaborate with Young Optics, the Taiwanese maker of the MiiCraft DLP 3D printer. Together, they will be building a new high-resolution, high-speed 3D printer capable of manufacturing portable analytical systems. “We will be able to make things that are about the size of a cell and in those things we will be able to do lots of interesting and fantastic chemistry,” explained Breadmore.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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