Exploring tough and biocompatible photopolymers for the 3D printing of medical devices
The production of medical devices by additive manufacturing technologies has become a popular field of research in the last years as it allows the fabrication of complex and individually shaped geometries in short production times. In particular, stereolithography facilitates the fast and very precise fabrication of 3D objects with high surface quality and tuneable mechanical properties. However, state of-the-art resins are mainly based on (meth) acrylate building blocks that show limited biocompatibility and toughness in the cured state making this method not suitable for the printing of medical devices.
Within our research activities, photocurable resin systems based on the thiol-yne reaction were investigated that provide low-cytotoxicity as well as outstanding toughness and flexibility in the cured state. These advantages together with the possibility of tuneable degradability and surface modification make these photo-curable materials valuable candidates for the tailor-made fabrication of several types of medical devices via stereolithography.