In 1998 Milton created his first thermoset 3D printer using castoff ink jet printers reconfigured with his novel thermoset formulas, still viable today but generally not sought in the highly UV-oriented 3D ecosystem. Formulas are for future 3D Microjection thermoset systems.
In 2002 and 2007 we filed patents for these novel 3D thermoset jetting systems and novel materials sets & met many industry leaders.
In 2007 we patented an ultra-rapid flat screen addressing system that would allow active or HD performance with a simple Passive Matrix construction. In these patents we first claimed a potential concept for the Microjection Science. Met more industry leaders.
In 2014 we brought forth the science of Microjection, and established the key relationship with our Foundry partner, a Global Leader in the glass industry, who brought our ideas to life! From 2014 to 2020 we have worked with them to develop Microjection glass with novel flat screen addressing metallization processes, now ready for commercialization. Industry leaders started to take notice.
In 2018 we were awarded a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation, which enabled us to prove the concept of pumping molten nylon through one million addressed capillaries per square inch in a piece of metallized glass in a stairstep profile.
In 2018 Four First Action US Patents were granted, with the examiner stating, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” In addition he requested we write a divisional patent, which was also immediately granted.
In 2019 POC was completed successfully in the most complicated embodiment — thermoplastic — requiring nano-resistive heat inside hair-thin capillaries, establishing novel rheological, thermal, and photonic behaviors, in an oxygen-free environment. See the Proof of Concept section for more detail and illustration.
In 2020 our Glass Foundry partner successfully made novel Microjection "Electro-Glass™” developing a method to create custom conductive glass to our exacting specification, in a proprietary commercially viable, economical manner, specifically for our applications as this is the enabling technology that can change the landscape of microfluidics opportunities.
By 2021 our patents have been cited by HP, IBM, GE, LG, Xerox, and others.
In 2021 a New Patent Disclosure filed to capture Discovery since 2016, robust data encompassing more microfluidic arts, embodiments, applications, and methodologies, with rheological and other interesting variants.
For 2022 a New Phase I SBIR Grant Proposal to the National Science Foundation is pending for the proving and refinement of the new Electro-Glass and preparation for a Phase II for Prototypes and Commercialization.
Additive Manufacturing was the first spoke in the Microjection wheel turning towards the future of Microfluidics applications.
Additive Manufacturing, Straight Up.™
Exponentially Accelerated Microfluidics.™
Applied to 3D Additive Manufacturing, Microjection™ Science creates objects that are ready-for-sale and ready-to-use — with no post-treatment required — in popular thermoplastics, novel custom thermosets, plated metals, and biological materials, all at the speed of injection molding — and all in exquisite detail. It can integrate into plastics factory manufacturing floors and use the same materials from the injection molding systems, only heated to a lower viscosity. Prototypes and production come from the same machine at whatever resolution or size required. It is an elegant method for mass manufacturing but is also modifiable and can be further refined to be suitable for the most painstaking medical application.
Proof of Concept (POC) in Thermoplastic: The Most Complicated Embodiment
The Microjection POC included several small but effective Electro-Glass™ Voxel Platens™ with ~20 µm capillaries on 25.4 µm centers, one millimeter tall (glass thickness), at the surprisingly high density of one million capillaries per square inch. Electronically controlled via nano- and micro-metallization, we were able to apply voltage to activate the electro conductive Curative Matrix™ heating nano resistors in order to lower the viscosity and thus transit build fluid. Pinging the capillary matrix at frequencies like 100 Hz, generates 100 ~2µm layers per second with computer and manually coordinated vertical movement precision controls, in this way we successfully pumped out a one-half-inch tall, crystal clear polyamide stairstep object in about 10 seconds.
When the voltage hit the capillary, it heated up the nano resistors, and that lowered the viscosity of the stalled plastic to the slightest degree, but significant enough to disrupt that boundary layer of the fluid inside. One the layer burst, the droplet fairly ejected to the topside of the platen, and this continued at 100 times per second with a cooling mechanism in the build area. That allowed the layers to cool instantaneously and create the small crystal you see. The object release software is not yet in prototype or the POC hence the slightly melted top. (See POC illustration page).
Low Pressure System: Only lightly pressure-biased, this system relies on the intrinsic power of the boundary layer, commonly seen as a the droplet “skin.” In the inverted world of Microfluidics, this lively and instantaneously re-forming molecular accumulation creating a silky like tension surface. It is incredibly responsive all manner of stimuli, and in Microjection it is leveraged at speeds not heretofore commonly employed, the boundary layer is a gas pedal for a force of propulsion. We let the micro tension do all the work. Rather quickly.
By proving Microjection in possibly its most complicated embodiment — thermoplastic — we know this science will work with electrophoresis, electro wetting, acoustical, and thermal modalities. Other applications will have lower viscosities, with or without heat, at extremely small sizes or larger as needs dictate. Capillary sizes and center-to-center distances are completely controllable and commercially viable; both aspect ratio and electronic capacity for the metallization are customizable as well. Target Electro-Glass for most applications will be a Cartesian array with discrete addressing for precise allocation and activation, and the arrays can be economically customized for resolution and center spacings as compression or flow geometries may require.
Applied to Life Science: A Million Reasons for Adoption
Every square inch of lab-on-a-chip and other applications is precious real estate for microfluidic functionality. Microjection increases the functionality of every square inch by six orders of magnitude (one million times) . This is a powerful opportunity!
Life Science Breakthroughs: Using the voltage biases and other modalities can leverage the intrinsic power of the boundary layer in order to transit biological fluids for deposition and sorting. In addition resonant frequencies can be integrated into the system to facilitate for example oxygenation of tissues, or to create reactor-like scenario wherein difficult-to-create molecules can be formatted.
Massively accelerated DNA sequencing is now a tremendous option with Microjection ultra fast, precision controlled high density capacity.
Ready for Commercialization:
Proving Microjection at higher viscosities with controllable temperature gradients and gas seals is much more complicated than some of the other embodiments, paving the way for a smooth pivot to Biomedical and Life Science. Now we can move to prototype and refinements for manufacturing planning in various applications the market demands. At reasonable cost that permit ROI and mass market penetration in many verticals.
We expect to have productive, creative meetings with Pharmaceutical, Testing, Life Science, and Additive Manufacturing companies to introduce, discuss, teach, and demonstrate the potential of this empowering technology. Feel free to contact us with your questions and to discuss this exciting opportunity.