Effects of living cells on the bioink printability during laser printing

Zhengyi Zhang, Changxue Xu, Ruitong Xiong, Douglas B. Chrisey, Yong Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Laser-induced forward transfer has been a promising orifice-free bioprinting technique for the direct writing of three-dimensional cellular constructs from cell-laden bioinks. In order to optimize the printing performance, the effects of living cells on the bioink printability must be carefully investigated in terms of the ability to generate well-defined jets during the jet/droplet formation process as well as well-defined printed droplets on a receiving substrate during the jet/droplet deposition process. In this study, a time-resolved imaging approach has been implemented to study the jet/droplet formation and deposition processes when printing cell-free and cell-laden bioinks under different laser fluences. It is found that the jetting behavior changes from no material transferring to well-defined jetting with or without an initial bulgy shape to jetting with a bulgy shape/pluming/splashing as the laser fluence increases. Under desirable well-defined jetting, two impingement-based deposition and printing types are identified: droplet-impingement printing and jet-impingement printing with multiple breakups. Compared with cell-free bioink printing, the transfer threshold of the cell-laden bioink is higher while the jet velocity, jet breakup length, and printed droplet size are lower, shorter, and smaller, respectively. The addition of living cells transforms the printing type from jet-impingement printing with multiple breakups to droplet-impingement printing. During the printing of cell-laden bioinks, two non-ideal jetting behaviors, a non-straight jet with a non-straight trajectory and a straight jet with a non-straight trajectory, are identified mainly due to the local nonuniformity and nonhomogeneity of cell-laden bioinks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034120
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2017


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