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Title: Fabricating Robust Constructs with Internal Phase Nanostructures via Liquid‐in‐Liquid 3D Printing

The ability to print soft materials into predefined architectures with programmable nanostructures and mechanical properties is a necessary requirement for creating synthetic biomaterials that mimic living tissues. However, the low viscosity of common materials and lack of required mechanical properties in the final product present an obstacle to the use of traditional additive manufacturing approaches. Here, a new liquid‐in‐liquid 3D printing approach is used to successfully fabricate constructs with internal nanostructures using in situ self‐assembly during the extrusion of an aqueous solution containing surfactant and photocurable polymer into a stabilizing polar oil bath. Subsequent photopolymerization preserves the nanostructures created due to surfactant self‐assembly at the immiscible liquid–liquid interface, which is confirmed by small‐angle X‐ray scattering. Mechanical properties of the photopolymerized prints are shown to be tunable based on constituent components of the aqueous solution. The reported 3D printing approach expands the range of low‐viscosity materials that can be used in 3D printing, and enables robust constructs production with internal nanostructures and spatially defined features. The reported approach has broad applications in regenerative medicine by providing a platform to print self‐assembling biomaterials into complex tissue mimics where internal supramolecular structures and their functionality control biological processes, similar to natural extracellular matrices.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Macromolecular Rapid Communications
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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