3-dimensional (3D) polymer microstructures have broad applications, ranging from fuel cells to biomedical implants. Top-down and bottom-up fabrications are the most common strategies for making these microstructures, and have been implemented by photolithography and molecules self-assembly. However, the current technology is often associated with low yield, small production scales and long fabrication time, which led to limited industrial applications. To overcome these limitations, we created the Building-blocks Strategy to facilitate 3D polymer microstructures formation.
By using cost-effective methods such as wet-spinning and emulsification, spherical, rod-like and ribbon-shaped building-blocks were produced at large quantity with micron-sized features and crosslinkable chemicals, and were assembled covalently into complex 3D microstructures, including interconnected porosity and micro-channels. Currently we are investigating the following topics: (a) how do shapes, stiffness and chemical properties influence the self-alignments and cross-linking among building blocks; (b) what fabrication platforms can be used to better customize the building-blocks; and (c) to what applications can we best apply the building-block strategy.
Li-Hsin (Leo) Han is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics at Drexel University. His research experience includes polymeric micro/nano-fabrication, biomaterial design, tissue engineering, rapid prototyping, free-form fabrication, polymer microactuators and photonics. Han, PhD, received both his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering (1996 and 1998) from National Taiwan University. He worked as a 2nd lieutenant for military service (1998-2000), and then a patent engineer in the industry (2000-2002). He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from UT Austin in 2009, and then the Postdoctoral training at Stanford University School of Medicine form 2010 to 2014. Han, PhD, joined the faculty at Drexel University in 2014.