The parallel beams of light passing through the gelatin-based hydrogel in this vial are actually white when they enter the solution. The green color comes from the fluorescence of eosin Y, an organic dye. Hitendra Kumar, a postdoc in Keekyoung Kim’s lab at the University of Calgary, and his undergraduate labmates, Karla Villegas and Ethan Le, added the dye as a photoinitator to kick-start crosslinking reactions within the hydrogel. Eosin Y is their initiator of choice because it can be excited with visible light. They’re working on developing a visible light-controlled process for making 3D printed biomaterials from hydrogel “bioinks” with embedded animal or human cells. Using patterns of light projected into the bioink enables the researchers to study variations in the printed structure and image the cells embedded within.
Submitted by Hitendra Kumar
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