Case Studies

Spraybase@work with Surface Deposition In University at Buffalo

Customer: Dr. Mark Swihart, The University at Buffalo


Electrosprayed monolayer of microspheres (0.9µm in diameter) for surface photonic structure patterning (figures from University at Buffalo). By controlling the surface property and spraying time, the surface coverage percentage can be well controlled, which is better than bottom-up self-assembly or spin coating methods.

Avedro R&D Gets a Boost from Reproducible, Customizable Electrospray Technology

Customer: Satish Herekar, Science and Technology Fellow, Avedro

As the Science and Technology Fellow at medical device and pharmaceutical company Avedro, Satish Herekar needed an electrospray platform that would deliver stable, reproducible results while still allowing for flexibility and customization. The Spraybase® system fit the bill perfectly.

Avedro is best known for its work in corneal cross-linking, a technique using a riboflavin/UVA combination to strengthen the eye and halt progressive damage. Herekar’s research covers infective keratitis as well as non-inflammatory eye conditions. For the combination treatments using both therapeutic and medical device that Avedro offers, its R&D team needs exquisite control over the dosing and timing of the specialized drugs they develop.

“This is where having a device like Spraybase, which provides repeatable, timed events which you can set the parameters for, is essential,” Herekar says.

He was not an electrospray veteran when he went out looking for a solution. Rather than building a system from scratch, which many scientists do, “I chose to pick something that was CE marked and had an independent reference,” Herekar says.

To test for biomechanical effects on various types of collagen, Herekar must apply a certain dose of candidate therapeutics to each sample. “The most important thing for me was to be able to take a custom compound that we formulated and to electrospray it in a certain manner, with an approved deposition rate and a Taylor cone mode of spraying,” he says. “I was able to verify all of that with Spraybase.” The system gives him the ability to finely tune temperature, pressure, charge, and deposition rates of custom-sized particles.

Spraybase meets his need for flexibility as well: Herekar likes that it can be set up to spray into microplates, Petri dishes, or custom materials. Importantly, the instrument was simple to bring in since it didn’t require any build-out or a lot of expensive capital equipment. He has also been pleasantly surprised by how robust the instrument is, by helpful features such as the camera, and by the technical support provided by the Spraybase team. “They assist you in meeting the specialized requirements you have,” he says.

At Trinity College Dublin, Electrospray Technology Produces Uniformly Sized Microspheres for Tissue Regeneration

Customer: Conor T. Buckley, assistant professor in biomaterials and tissue engineering, Trinity College Dublin

At Trinity College Dublin, Conor Buckley aims to boost tissue regeneration of the shock-absorbing discs between vertebrae in the spine. In one minimally invasive approach, these intervertebral discs can be injected with hydrogel containing microencapsulated cells that help the tissue to rebuild itself.

This novel method requires the formation of microspheres with a very narrow size distribution — something that Buckley’s in-house electrospraying system could not accomplish reproducibly. So he consulted Spraybase’s  electrospraying experts, who helped determine the type of system that would best suit his needs.

In December 2012, Buckley’s lab purchased the Spraybase® Electrospray Starter Kit. The Spraybase device is an integrated electrospray unit complete with a high-resolution camera enabling real-time verification that a Taylor cone is being formed. It is a robust, easy-to-use device that produces high-quality microspheres of targeted size in an accurate, reliable manner.

“We have had a number of projects using this system over the past two years,” Buckley reports, “and I can honestly say that it is the best investment I have made for my laboratory and research team.”

Buckley’s team operates the Spraybase instrument between 5 kV and 15 kV, depending on the desired microsphere size. They work primarily with alginate hydrogels, which have excellent biocompatibility and hydrophilic properties. Using calcium chloride for crosslinking, the team can easily combine the hydrogel material with a variety of cell types to form a 3D structure encapsulating those cells.

“We are very happy with our results to date and are looking forward to continuing our work in this field of exciting research,” Buckley says. “I believe that this technology has significant potential in the fields of biomaterials, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine to develop novel approaches and strategies to repair damaged tissues and treat a whole host of diseases.”