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Publication Date


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Scientific Reports


Thayer School of Engineering


The 3D printing of fluorescent materials could help develop, validate, and translate imaging technologies, including systems for fluorescence-guided surgery. Despite advances in 3D printing techniques for optical targets, no comprehensive method has been demonstrated for the simultaneous incorporation of fluorophores and fine-tuning of absorption and scattering properties. Here, we introduce a photopolymer-based 3D printing method for manufacturing fluorescent material with tunable optical properties. The results demonstrate the ability to 3D print various individual fluorophores at reasonably high fluorescence yields, including IR-125, quantum dots, methylene blue, and rhodamine 590. Furthermore, tuning of the absorption and reduced scattering coefficients is demonstrated within the relevant mamalian soft tissue coefficient ranges of 0.005–0.05 mm−1 and 0.2–1.5 mm−1, respectively. Fabrication of fluorophore-doped biomimicking and complex geometric structures validated the ability to print feature sizes less than 200 μm. The presented methods and optical characterization techniques provide the foundation for the manufacturing of solid 3D printed fluorescent structures, with direct relevance to biomedical optics and the broad adoption of fast manufacturing methods in fluorescence imaging.



Original Citation

Ruiz, A.J., Garg, S., Streeter, S.S. et al. 3D printing fluorescent material with tunable optical properties. Sci Rep 11, 17135 (2021).