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Inkjet Printing and Precision Deposition


The ability to deposit small amounts of material in a highly controllable and precise fashion is important for creating test materials for trace detection method and instrument development. But it can also enable delivery of chemical compounds for health care purposes, e.g., vaccines, small molecules, and drugs. We have pioneered the use of drop-on-demand inkjet printing to make test samples of a variety of chemical compounds, from explosives to narcotics to pharmaceutical ingredients. We are also investigating alternative deposition methods, like acoustic- and pneumatic- assisted deposition, to allow more flexibility in the types and masses of compounds that can be deposited.  


Inkjet droplet on hydrophobic surface
Inkjet droplet on hydrophobic surface

Inkjet Droplet Metrology: Drop-on-Demand (DOD) inkjet printing allows precise deposition of picoliter (pL)-size droplets of solutions containing organic or inorganic materials. These drops can be used to create unique patterns, structures, and coatings and build 3-D microstructures making it a highly adaptable Additive Manufacturing technology. We have developed novel optical and gravimetric methods to characterize accurately the droplet size and improve the deposition process.



The Caduceus, a symbol of medicine
The Caduceus, a symbol of medicine

Printing of Medicines: Imagine your pharmacist providing you with your medication in a way that was customizable to your unique physiology, recognizing important variables such as body proportion and metabolism. This approach to personalized medicine can be enabled by the precise delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients through direct inkjet printing. We are working to apply precision inkjet deposition to the production of materials for drug delivery. The use of pneumatic-assisted deposition allows a wider range of compounds to be dispensed from different solvents not amenable to inkjet printing. Also, the pneumatic-assisted deposition system allows the use of up to 100 different wells with potentially different chemicals or molecules making combinatorial depositions very easy.


"Sub-picoliter Traceability of Microdroplet Gravimetry and Microscopy", Lindsay C.C. Elliott, Adam L. Pintar, Craig R. Copeland, Thomas B. Renegar, Ronald G. Dixson, B. Robert Ilic, R. Michael Verkouteren and Samuel M. Stavis. Analytical Chemistry 94 (2021) 678-686.

Created April 25, 2017, Updated April 7, 2023