Abstract

Thin-film microfabrication-based bio-integrated sensors are widely used for a broad range of applications that require continuous measurements of biophysical and biochemical signals from the human body. Typically, they are fabricated using standard photolithography and etching techniques. This traditional method is capable of producing a precise, thin, and flexible bio-integrated sensor system. However, it has several drawbacks, such as the fact that it can only be used to fabricate sensors on a planar surface, it is highly complex requiring specialized high-end facilities and equipment, and it mostly allows only 2D features to be fabricated. Therefore, developing bio-integrated sensors via 3D-printing technology has attracted particular interest. 3D-printing technology offers the possibility to develop sensors on nonplanar substrates, which is beneficial for noninvasive bio-signal sensing, and to directly print on complex 3D nonplanar organ structures. Moreover, this technology introduces a highly flexible and precisely controlled printing process to realize patient-specific sensor systems for ultimate personalized medicine, with the potential of rapid prototyping and mass customization. This review summarizes the latest advancements in 3D-printed bio-integrated systems, including 3D-printing methods and employed printing materials. Furthermore, two widely used 3D-printing techniques are discussed, namely, ex-situ and in-situ fabrication techniques, which can be utilized in different types of applications, including wearable and smart-implantable biosensor systems.

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