Bioprinting is a new application of ink jet or plotting technology in which biomaterials plus cells are deposited onto a substrate. The polymerization of the synthetic or natural polymers can be initiated by light, temperature, pH change or addition of ions. Our bioprinter "Bio Factory" (RegenHu, Villaz St-Pierre, Switzerland) is currently equipped with three printing heads for printing of hydrogels containing cells. An additional printhead is used to dispense high viscous materials such as ceramic pastes.
For photo-polymerization of the hydrogels, the printer is equipped with a UV-lamp as well as a UV-laser with a wavelength of 355 nm. For temperature control, the cartridge and the printhead can be heated. The Bio Factory can dispense hydrogels in contact (extrusion printing) or non-contact mode (ink jet printing) depending on the viscosity of the material. The entire system is contained within a laminar flow hood so that the manufacture can be done in a sterile environment.
The three-dimensional printing is facilitated via layer-by-layer build-up of the structures as it is shown in the video below.