Implantable micro-devices may one day help regenerate nerves in humans, but for now they are limited by several factors. One limitation is the processing methods used for making the micro-devices, which sometimes require etching patterns into the biodegradable materials. Shoachen Chen is helping medical equipment designers develop micro-devices by improving the processing of biodegradable materials. The Iowa State University professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering uses lasers for producing micro-features on polymer surfaces. He is carving out answers to questions about how lasers remove materials from polymers. His work, funded by the National Science Foundation, is important to understanding how designers integrate materials into biodegradable micro-devices. For more information, contact Chen at (515) 294-2298.
With a better understanding of materials’ response to load and temperature, researchers could potentially use the knowledge to improve design. The research could even help geologists studying plate tectonics.
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