Your run of the mill sperm just doesn’t cut it anymore, now that German researchers from the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden have begun 3D printing “spermbots”
German researchers from the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden have developed a revolutionary new solution to combat male infertility – “spermbots”. With about one-third of fertility issues tied to the male partner, low motility of sperm can be a crucial factor. The spermbots, created using Nanoscribe’s Photonic Professional GT System, are tiny micromotors that can carry poorly swimming sperm to the oocyte for fertilization. The motors are made up of small metal helix shapes that can be controlled with a rotating magnetic field. These 3D printed objects are printed using Nanoscribe’s two-photon polymerization process, which focuses the dual-photon laser at a resin bath. The resulting photopolymer helices are then coated in a thin metal layer, which enables magnetic control.
The research team theorized the idea of spermbots, which would carry the sperm to the oocyte with greater speed, to tackle this issue of low sperm motility. While the printed motors worked well in the lab, the researchers have their sights set on use in humans. The study has been published in the ACS Journal Nano Letters and could help those with poor sperm motility in creating offspring, as well as aiding the processes of in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination.
This is just one among a growing number of studies that are looking into the fabrication of small medical devices using similar 3D printing methods. The devices may be getting smaller, but the nanoprinting industry is only getting bigger.
Via The Impactlab