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Biomed Microdevices. 2013 Apr;15(2):203-10. doi: 10.1007/s10544-012-9717-9.

Hollow microneedles for intradermal injection fabricated by sacrificial micromolding and selective electrodeposition.

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School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.


Limitations with standard intradermal injections have created a clinical need for an alternative, low-cost injection device. In this study, we designed a hollow metal microneedle for reliable intradermal injection and developed a high-throughput micromolding process to produce metal microneedles with complex geometries. To fabricate the microneedles, we laser-ablated a 70 μm × 70 μm square cavity near the tip of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) microneedles. The master structure was a template for multiple micromolded poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) replicas. Each replica was sputtered with a gold seed layer with minimal gold deposited in the cavity due to masking effects. In this way, nickel was electrodeposited selectively outside of the cavity, after which the polymer replica was dissolved to produce a hollow metal microneedle. Force-displacement tests showed the microneedles, with 12 μm thick electrodeposition, could penetrate skin with an insertion force 9 times less than their axial failure force. We injected fluid with the microneedles into pig skin in vitro and hairless guinea pig skin in vivo. The injections targeted 90 % of the material within the skin with minimal leakage onto the skin surface. We conclude that hollow microneedles made by this simple microfabrication method can achieve targeted intradermal injection.

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