Fabrication of 3D microchannels for tissue engineering in photosensitive glass using NIR femtosecond laser radiation
The biocompatibility of photosensitive glasses allows various biomedical applications; one is the field of tissue engineering and more precisely microengineered tissue-on-a-chip platforms to study the tissue microenvironment and disease modelling. Three dimensional architectures of adapted components are required for modern materials. A photosensitive lithiumalumosilicate glass FS21 was investigated regarding the interaction with a Ti:Sapphire laser systemto build three dimensional buried channels inside the glass. Femtosecond laser radiation with a wavelength of 800 nm and pulse duration of 140 fs was used to modify the glass structure. Subsurface channel geometries were achieved by a subsequent thermal treatment and were formed into capillaries using wet chemical etching of the exposed and crystallised channels. Contrary to ultraviolet (UV) exposure, spectral optical investigations showed that fs laser exposure caused various radiation induced defects in the base glass coupled with the generation of photoelectrons for the photochemical modification of silver ions. We observed an outgassing of different species coming from raw materials of the original glass batch during the glass crystallisation process. Etch rate ratios differ between 1:25 and 1:45 and are dependent on: stoichiometric deviation between surface and bulk, crystal size and distribution and exchange of the etching agent in narrow capillaries.