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Phantoms coming out of a 3D printer

Manufacturing of novel test pieces with magnetic nanoparticles

PTB-News 3.2017
Especially interesting for

biomedical research

magnetic particle imaging

A procedure further developed by PTB allows plastic test pieces (phantoms) containing well-defined additions of magnetic nanoparticles to be manufactured for the first time. This procedure opens up the possibility of making nanoparticle distributions that are precise and have long-term stability available to biomedicine in any arbitrary geometries for the testing of magnetic imaging modalities.

Geometrical phantom (framed in blue) for the assessment of the level of detail, and magnetic test pieces of different dimensions (framed in white) with defined combinations of nanoparticles and resins from generative manufacturing. Size of the assembly space: 230 mm × 160 mm × 125 mm.

3D printing is a manufacturing process in which a component is built up by adding layer after layer of material. Within the scope of a joint project with PTB's Biosignals Department, the Scientific Instrumentation Department is operating a digital light processing facility in which the components are manufactured by adding layer after layer of liquid and photocurable resin. This procedure allows components made from the most various acrylic polymers to be manufactured with great precision and attention to detail.

It had not been possible to date to produce test pieces with defined magnetic properties. These are, however, highly relevant for activities of medical metrology at PTB such as calibration artefacts with long-term stability or phantoms in biomedical imaging. PTB has now succeeded in developing a procedure that allows components with defined concentrations of homogeneously distributed magnetic nanoparticles to be manufactured with great attention to detail of the geometries produced. For this purpose, it was necessary to develop special characterization procedures to control the quality of the magnetic components.

The 3D printing of phantoms containing magnetic nanoparticles provides components with well-defined magnetic functions and geometries, and allows new procedures of biomedical imaging to be assessed and improved. This is supported by research activities on components with defined optical properties for fluorescence imaging which can also be manufactured by means of 3D printing.


Dirk Gutkelch
Department 8.2
Phone: +49 (0)30 3481-7346
Opens window for sending emaildirk.gutkelch(at)ptb.de