Challenges in High Resolution Inkjet Printing

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Engineering and Physical Sciences

Abstract

Inkjet printing is a technology that is familiar to anyone who has a personal computer at home as a convenient way of printing text and photographic images. In addition to this application, inkjet printing is a versatile manufacturing tool with a range of applications ranging from the industrial printing of barcodes and security marking to low cost printed electronics, solar cells and biosensors. It is also a long established method for 3D printing of polymers and ceramics. Inkjet printing is a digital technology, enabling designs and structures to be fabricated directly from files stored on a computer without the need to produce intermediate moulds, tools or screens. Thus a great attraction of using inkjet printing in these newer manufacturing applications is its potential to dramatically reduce lead times from concept to manufacture. This proposal is to provide a central facility to enable research in all of these applications for inkjet printing and in particular to enable us to translate this research from the laboratory to applications in industry and medicine that will be of direct benefit to the UK.

The suite of inkjet printers will allow a number of projects to be carried out including:
Printing functional materials and structures on textiles to allow smart clothing that could monitor the health of an individual.
Printing radio frequency identification devices (RFID) "invisible bar codes" on products to improve security and allow automatic checkout in stores.
Improve our fundamental understanding of the science of how inkjet drops are formed and how they interact with surfaces after printing.
Develop new inks that allow the printing of new materials e.g. graphene.
Enable the 3D printing of structures that can be implanted into the body to enable the healing and regeneration of tissues.

Planned Impact

The project is closely aligned to EPSRC and TSB strategy and is consistent with the aims stated in the EPSRC and TSB Partnership in High Value Manufacturing.

The project will provide inkjet printing equipment for the proposed National Centre for Digital Fabrication, these will will be made available to the UK academic research base as a resource for the translation of inkjet research to a commercial manufacturing platform. This will benefit both the UK academic and industrial base by providing an improved route to market and thus enabling an improved pathway to impact for researchers other than the CIs and their immediate collaborators. The facility will be of immediate benefit to our collaborators in the Centre for Innovative Manufacture in Large Area Electronics (EP/K03099X/1) and will assist in providing a facility with a larger printed footprint allowing work at a higher TRL for translational work..

The UK has a strong industrial cluster in inkjet printing technology as well as a large number of academic users in the printed electronic and 3D printing fields. The proposed equipment will allow a stronger interaction between the UK industry and academic sectors in this important area of advanced manufacturing.

An important piece of equipment is the Bioprinter. This will enable state of the art work in the area of biofabrication with applications in rergenerative medicine and tissue engineering. This will have longer term societal impact through developing new methods of treating disease and organ repair.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description 1) We have developed methods for printing components of human tissue that may lead to further work developing the organ-on-a-chip for toxicity testing.
2) Working with others we have developed protocols for printing large area electronic structures such as aerials for applications in the internet of things.
3) We now provide a facility for inkjet printing functional and structural materials that is available for users within the digital printing community in UK Universities and UK Industry.
Exploitation Route Our equipment has already been used by UK Industrial SMEs to provide trial facilities for inkjet printing solar cells. It has resulted in directly funded research projects and Ph.D. studentships from an industrial partner.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL http://www.eps.manchester.ac.uk/our-research/research-facilities/digital-fabrication/
 
Description The equipment funded by the grant has been used by UK industry to trial the fabrication of large area photovoltaic manufacture using novel device geometries. This information was used by the collaborator to seek further funding for their development. A patemt is in the process of filimg based on results obtained ussing the equipment
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Additive Manufacturing
Amount £76,614 (GBP)
Funding ID CDE36973 
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Department Centre for Defence Enterprise
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2015 
End 06/2015
 
Description Collaborative Research
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Organisation Merck 
Department Merck R&D UK
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 04/2017
 
Description Engineering Grand Challenge
Amount £4,056,140 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N010345/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2015 
End 12/2020
 
Description Impact Accelerator Account
Amount £27,077 (GBP)
Funding ID IAA 054 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 02/2015
 
Description Commonwealth Split Site Studentship 
Organisation Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Joint Supervision of a research student, two 6 month visitits of research student to manchester
Collaborator Contribution Provision of student support for 12 momths
Impact Papers submitted and currently under review. Facilities access Diamond Synchrotron
Start Year 2017
 
Description Merck Case Award 
Organisation Merck
Department Merck R&D UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provide methods for ink development using 2D materials. Develop strategies for solvent and particle selection.
Collaborator Contribution Cash contribution for research and student support. Supply of materials. Supply of Staff time.
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2016
 
Title Multilayer sheet of cells used in in-vitro assay, such as toxicity assay that measures transfer of substance across multilayer sheet of cells, comprise layer of endothelial cell, and adjacent layer of podocytes 
Description Technology Focus/Extension Abstract: TECHNOLOGY FOCUS - BIOLOGY - Preferred Conditions: The endothelial cells are glomerular endothelial cells. The multilayer sheet of cells comprises extracellular matrix disposed between cell layers. The multilayer sheet of cells are provided on a support surface. The multilayer sheet of cells are detachable from support surface without enzymatic treatment, where support surface is temperature responsive support surface. The cell layers are confluent cell layers. The multilayer sheet of cells are tolerant of flow conditions. The multilayer sheet of cells are impervious to proteins of more than 100kDa. The in vitro cell culture comprises extracellular matrix disposed between the cell layers. The in vitro cell culture is provided on a support surface. The support surface is a surface from which the multilayer sheet of cells is detachable without enzymatic treatment. The device comprises liquid/fluid permeable support for multilayer sheet of cells. The device comprises liquid/fluid inlet to compartment adjacent to layer of endothelial cells, and liquid/fluid outlet from compartment adjacent to layer of podocytes. The device comprises compartment having renal epithelial cells. The compartment having renal epithelial cells is in liquid/fluid communication with compartment adjacent to layer of podocytes. The multilayer sheet of cells are produced by providing a layer of endothelial cells that is glomerular endothelial cells, layering podocytes into layer of endothelial cells, and culturing cells in vitro. The method involves contacting endothelial cells or glomerular endothelial cells with support surface, and culturing the cells on support surface in vitro. The method involves detaching multilayer sheet of cells from support surface. The multilayer sheet of cells are produced by providing a layer of podocyte cells, providing layer of endothelial cells, placing layer of endothelial cells into layer of podocyte cells, or placing layer of podocyte cells onto layer of endothelial cells, and culturing the cells in vitro to produce multilayer sheet of cells. The layer of podocyte cells and layer of endothelial cells are layered on a support surface. The bilayer sheet of cells consist of layer of endothelial cells, layer of podocytes and extracellular matrix disposed between cell layers. 
IP Reference WO2016207654 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2016
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact Further collaboratiuon with industry
 
Description Interview by BBC World Service (Arabic) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Laboratory visit and description of research into Bioprinting at the University of Manchester. Equipment funded by the award was discussed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentationto Inustrial Trade Asociation members (Stoke-on-Trent) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation at industry workshop in Stoke-on-Trent by the British Ceramic Confederation - 3D Printing for Ceramics (Trade Association)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Radio Interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Radio broadcast resulted in further press interest

Interview with journalist from Financial Times
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05pn3t4
 
Description SciBar Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Invited to give talk on 3D printing to a general audience at a SciBar event. Questions and discussions aftewrwards. Generated interest to be invited to a similar event held by another SciBar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Stand at Blue Dot Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Samples being taken from the lab to blue dot.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Stand at Community Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Stand at the community festival including leapfrog printer, doodle pen Activity and hands on samples.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Stand at Henry Royce Advanced Materials Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 3d printing Workshop. Excellent Feedback
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk at Popular Science Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Workshop sparked questions about 3D printing in the future

After talk initiated discussions as to how to raise profile of additive manud=facturing
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Visit from Altrincham Grammar School for Boys 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 3D printing Workshop
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017