A start-up called IamFluidics in Twente, the Netherlands, has been awarded one million euros by Dutch high-tech investment fund, Innovation Industries. IamFluidics, a spin-off from the University of Twente founded earlier this year, develops minuscule liquid droplets. This investment brings us closer to practical applications for the innovative technology, the parties involved assert.
IamFluidics works with small fluid droplets, varying in size from one micrometre to one millimetre. This involved developing the new technology in-air microfluidics, whereby minuscule fluid jets are manipulated in the air by causing them to collide. This makes it possible to create new microparticles of different materials. Those microparticles are used in materials and composites in nutrition, cosmetics and clothing, etc. In the healthcare sector, microparticles are used in medicines or as contrast fluids. The technology makes countless new applications possible, such as 3D-printing with living cells, for which there is a strong demand in the medical world.
The Twente spin-off creates all sorts of particles by colliding jets, both with and without living cells: drops of water surrounded by a thin layer of oil; hollow spheres of the binding agent alginate; capsules of alginate filled with liquid. This creates not only different structures, but also a wide variety of shapes. For a start, making the liquid jets wider gives you larger spheres. The researchers have created particles with diameters varying from 20 µm to 300 µm.
The biggest benefit of the new technology is its speed. Such microparticles used to be made with chips equipped with fluid channels, but that took a thousand times longer.
Claas Willem Visser, one of the founders and chief scientific officer of IamFluidics, is enthusiastic about the investment. 'This is a unique opportunity to develop scientific discoveries made at the University of Twente into new groundbreaking products in areas that include medicines and chemical applications,' he said in a press release.
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