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Laser Ablation of Poly(lactic acid) Sheets for the Rapid Prototyping of Sustainable, Single-Use, Disposable Medical Microcomponents

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-02-16, 00:00 authored by Alfredo E. Ongaro, Ieva Keraite, Antonio Liga, Gioacchino Conoscenti, Stuart Coles, Holger Schulze, Till T. Bachmann, Khaled Parvez, Cinzia Casiraghi, Nicola Howarth, Vincenzo La Carubba, Maïwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas
The employment of single-use, disposable medical equipment has increased the amount of medical waste produced and the advent of point-of-care diagnostics in lab-on-chip format is likely to add further volume. Current materials used for the manufacture of these devices are derived from petroleum sources and are, therefore, unsustainable. In addition, disposal of these plastics necessitates combustion to reduce infection risk, which has, depending on material composition, an undesirable environmental impact. To address these issues, we have developed a general approach for the rapid prototyping of single-use point-of-care cartridges prepared from poly­(lactic acid), a sustainable material which can be milled and laser-cut as well as molded for translation to mass-market products. Here, the laser workability of poly­(lactic acid) sheets is reported together with examples of microfluidic components. Furthermore, the low molecular adsorption in laser-ablated poly­(lactic acid) channels and the compatibility of poly­(lactic acid) for common on-chip bioassays, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), are demonstrated. This innovative prototyping technique can be easily translated to high volume manufacturing and presents exciting opportunities for future sustainable microfluidic laboratories as well as potential for sustainable disposable single-use microcomponents for clinical applications.

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