Providing an open access facility for product development

Turning concepts in nanotechnology into volume products is a specialist area for the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC). The services and laboratories of the Centre for NanoHealth will complement the advanced manufacture by printing capabilities in the WCPC.

By joining forces with the WCPC, the Centre for NanoHealth offers access to multi layer printing systems capable of producing small batches for confirmation and reliability trials. It will also have the added capability to additively adapt silicon and organic semiconductors, as well as printing using micron depositing techniques.

This is relevant to bio materials, such as enzymes, DNA and collagen which each require different processes to be printed successfully. The Centre for NanoHealth will house specialised prototype manufacturing facilities including aerosol printing technology with the capability to deposit very fine, thin lines digitally. This in turn will underpin prototype sensor manufacture.

An instrument capable of nano and micro-spotting and deposition from BioDot will also be available. It has the ability to deposit bio-active solutions (including, enzymes, DNA and antibodies), gels and membranes onto various substrates, another critical component in sensor manufacture.

The Centre also has a 3-D Bioplotter that is capable of depositing a diversity of materials including bio-gels for prototyping of bio-scaffolds for tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and sensor manufacture. Thus, printing can also produce three dimensional structures, making production of scaffolds, cell/tissue structures and flow guides for micro fluidic devices that may be incorporated into diagnostic devices a reality.

This equipment is all capable of short run production, making product development from conception to the point of volume manufacture, including identification of production control and quality assurance requirements possible. We also have a highly customizable multichannel potentiostat/galvanostat system from Bio-Logic capable of testing the performance of multiple sensors simultaneously.

The Centre for NanoHealth is also running a pilot scale ink making plant, specifically to enable bio inks to be developed and optimised. This includes incorporating novel materials, such as nanoparticles and nanowires, enzymes, biomarkers and DNA.

Other projects include optimising enzyme inks for sensor production, development of biosensors, ion sensors, gas sensors for diabetes and microbiology, printing smart biological scaffolding, and integrated DNA sensors. Work is also underway on the integration of plastic electronics, optical detectors and smart packaging.