Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Airbrush Useful For Making Microelectrodes, Not Just Art

Date:
February 19, 2008
Source:
University of Florida
Summary:
The airbrush, that tool behind tattoos and T-shirts, may have an unexpected future... in technology. A group of engineering students have come up with a method for using an airbrush to make microelectrodes — tiny conductors used in an increasing range of consumer, research and medical products. The technique is simpler than the standard one, at least for small projects that require production of only a few electrodes.

A microelectrode made in part with an airbrush is seen in this photo shot at a University of Florida laboratory. On a suggestion from a student who had a hobby making paper airplanes, UF engineering students came up with a way to use airbrushes to make the microelectrodes, which are used in glucose monitors for diabetics and other sensors. The airbrush technique is far cheaper and simpler than the standard one, though it works best for small, customized jobs rather than in mass production.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Florida

The airbrush, that tool behind tattoos and T-shirts, may have an unexpected future … in technology.

A group of engineering students at the University of Florida has come up with a method for using an airbrush to make microelectrodes — tiny conductors used in an increasing range of consumer, research and medical products. The technique is simpler than the standard one, at least for small projects that require production of only a few electrodes.

“The idea was to try to find something cheap and quick, that we could do in our own lab without much expense,” said student Corey Walker.

Walker was one of four UF engineering students who worked on the project. Now a doctoral student in biomedical engineering at the University of California, Irvine, he is the lead author of a paper appearing this month in the online edition of the journal Electroanalysis.

Microelectrodes are highly sensitive, fingernail-sized devices used, for example, in off-the-shelf glucose monitors for diabetics. They are also vital to “lab on a chip” devices under development to identify substances in air, blood or other samples.

The industry standard for manufacturing microelectrodes is screen printing, a technique that, oddly, is also borrowed from the visual arts. But it requires a screen printer, and the students, who were trying to craft a hydrogen sensor, didn’t have one.

So a student who used airbrushes to build model airplanes suggested they try that tool. Trials and tests perfected the approach, with the students eventually using fully airbrushed electrodes to craft a working sensor. The technique works best for small projects because it requires each electrode to be made individually or in small batches.

“A screen-printing machine useful for fabricating microelectrodes might cost $10,000, whereas you can buy an airbrush for less than $200,” said Hugh Fan, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who oversaw the project. “So this is a useful technique for small, custom projects.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Florida. "Airbrush Useful For Making Microelectrodes, Not Just Art." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214114441.htm>.
University of Florida. (2008, February 19). Airbrush Useful For Making Microelectrodes, Not Just Art. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214114441.htm
University of Florida. "Airbrush Useful For Making Microelectrodes, Not Just Art." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080214114441.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Captured The Sound Of An Atom

Scientists Have Captured The Sound Of An Atom

Newsy (Sep. 12, 2014) Scientists have captured the sound of a single atom by measuring its vibrations. We can't hear it, but it's reportedly the faintest sound possible. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Flare Surges Off Sun

Solar Flare Surges Off Sun

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 11, 2014) NASA captures video of a significant flare surging off the sun. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins