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Qin X.-H.,Additive Manufacturing Technologies Group | Qin X.-H.,Vienna University of Technology | Ovsianikov A.,Additive Manufacturing Technologies Group | Ovsianikov A.,Vienna University of Technology | And 4 more authors.
BioNanoMaterials | Year: 2014

Hydrogels are extensively explored as scaffolding materials for 2D/3D cell culture and tissue engineering. Owing to the substantial complexity of tissues, it is increasingly important to develop 3D biomimetic hydrogels with user-defined architectures and controllable biological functions. To this end, one promising approach is to utilize photolithography-based additive manufacturing technologies (AMTs) in combination with photosensitive hydrogels. We here review recent advances in photolithographybased additive manufacturing of 3D hydrogels for tissue engineering applications. Given the importance of materials selection, we firstly give an overview of water-soluble photoinitiators for single- and two-photon polymerization, photopolymerizable hydrogel precursors and light-triggered chemistries for hydrogel formation. Through the text we discuss the design considerations of hydrogel precursors and synthetic approaches to polymerizable hydrogel precursors of synthetic and natural origins. Next, we shift to how photopolymerizable hydrogels could integrate with photolithography-based AMTs for creating well-defined hydrogel structures. We illustrate the working-principles of both single- and two-photon lithography and case studies of their applications in tissue engineering. In particular, two-photon lithography is highlighted as a powerful tool for 3D functionalization/construction of hydrogel constructs with μm-scale resolution. Within the text we also explain the chemical reactions involved in two-photon-induced biofunctionalization and polymerization. In the end, we summarize the limitations of available hydrogel systems and photolithographybased AMTs as well as a future outlook on potential optimizations.

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