In their search for non-toxic, light-sensitive 3D printing materials, biomedical researchers recently discovered that riboflavin does the job quite nicely.
3D printing has proven to be immensely beneficial to medicine, particularly in providing the means to make better and more customized implants.
There has been one problem looming, however. Many of the currently available materials needed to finish the printing process are toxic.
In their search for viable options, biomedical researchers from North Carolina State University recently discovered that riboflavin, also called vitamin B2, does the job quite nicely.
When printing body parts, tissue scaffolds, and drug delivery systems, engineers use a process called two-photon polymerization.
In the final phases, a light-sensitive substance is introduced to liquid and when exposed to a laser, the intended area solidifies and the excess washes away.
What remains is a finely detailed medical implant.
Unfortunately, the necessary photosensitive element is the part that’s often harmful to humans.
That’s where the riboflavin comes in. Scientists have found that the vitamin can be made responsive enough to the laser to be effective in the process.
The study’s author said that the discovery, “…opens the door to a much wider range of biocompatible implant materials, which can be used to develop customized implant designs using 3-D printing technology."