Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Printing Technology

The Printing Technology group is led by Emeritus Professor Patrick Gane. The group focuses on developing printed microfluidic devices using functionalised coating pigments, binders and hydrophobic inks, printing nano and microscale patterns for analyte control and light interactive devices. Rheological properties of complex micro and nanoparticulate suspension systems forms a key competence.
CHEM_Bio_Circular economy

Our research areas:

  1. Functional printing

  2. Fluid-pore interactions

  3. Sustainable materials in circular economy

Our activities include:

  • Interaction of fluids with surfaces;
  • Development and study of functional printed devices, such as microfluidic analysis platforms;
  • Functional coatings including their use based on sustainable and biomaterials for environmental and circular economy applications.

Research Strategy:

The research group is active in developing highly porous functional coatings to meet growing technology challenges in which liquid-surface interactions drive analytical tools, diagnostics, pharmaceutical analysis and security features. Designing the rheological and particle interaction properties of complex suspensions provides the backdrop to the research strategy, additionally providing the opportunity for a multidisciplinary role within the department’s Bioproducts and biosystems research activities.

1. Highly Porous Custom Coatings:

We develop highly porous coatings utilising a functionalised calcium carbonate pigment (FCC). The coatings can be customised by using pigments with different specific surface areas and particle sizes, together with charge modifiers and binders, such as microfibrillated cellulose (MFC). Our research topics include studying the wicking speed of liquids in contact with porous coating media, and the use of custom surface treatments to generate a platform for chromatographic separation to provide material separation and reactive microfluidic analytical devices.



Functionalised pigment coatings:

The FCC pigment has a bimodal pore size distribution, which enables fast absorption by high capillarity in intra-particle pores and high permeability through inter-particle voids.

New applications:

New applications for functionalised calcium carbonate (FCC) based coatings include microfluidic devices such as paper-based reaction assays and enzymatic assays as well as medical diagnosis, environmental monitoring and laboratory research tools.

Wicking speed and chromatographic separation of components:

We have developed methods to test the wicking speed and chromatographic properties of the coated samples. For example, this video shows the separation of water and the anionic amaranth colorant on slightly cationic FCC coating in a horizontal test set-up (12x speed).

2. Functional Inkjet Printing:

We investigate inkjet printing as a method to functionalise porous materials to produce analytical platforms. Custom inks are being developed to modify localised pore surface chemistries to control flow of aqueous liquids (by selective hydrophobisation) or concentrate/separate ionic molecules (by surface charge modification). As part of the research, methodologies to evaluate the ink/substrate interaction and effect of functionalisation are also being developed.


Fabrication of hydrophobic patterns:

Test patterns are fabricated by printing hydrophobic inks on porous substrates with a DMP-2831 inkjet printer.

Inkjet printed reaction arrays:

The hydrophobising agent amount needed to form a waterproof barrier depends on the properties of the coatings. The effectivity of the barrier can be controlled by varying the hydrophobising agent, drop spacing and number of ink layers.

Changing the charge of the coating by inkjet printing

Inkjet printing can be used to effect the desired transfer and separation of compounds in the coatings by changing the charge of the coating regionally. For example, this video shows the concentration of anionic tartrazine colourant (yellow) from wicking aqueous solution on printed cationic polyelectrolyte regions.

3. Rheologically induced material interactions:

The ability to induce designed inter-species adsorption of particulate material within a gel suspension using controlled rheological conditions is a breakthrough technology centred on the emerging application of micro and nanocellulose in nanofunctional devices and processes. The adsorption of nanoparticles onto nanofibrils of cellulose whilst maintaining a gel-like condition is a discovery of particular significance in a wide range of applications, both in medical and analytical research, and in industry.  One such potential application is the analysis of nanoparticles in suspension using gellant microfluidic devices, including a potential solution to the challenge of dewatering nanomaterials.

Professor Patrick Gane

"We specialise in front line activities in functional applications to aid sustainability and circular economy"

Patrick Gane, Head of the research group

Research group members:

Related content:

TAPPI awards Professor emeritus Patrick Gane “Outstanding Educator”

TAPPI awards Professor emeritus Patrick Gane “Outstanding Educator”

Patrick Gane

Professor Patrick Gane receives the prestigious Georg-Jayme Medal

Professor Gane was awarded for his achievements in paper printing and novel pulp applications.

Professor Patrick Gane

Awards and honours for professors of the School of Chemical Engineering

Prof. Orlando Rojas, Prof. Patrick Gane and Prof. Eero Kontturi of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, have been acknowledged for their significant work.

Latest publications:

Modification of CaCO3 and CaCO3 pin-coated cellulose paper under supercritical carbon dioxide–ethanol mixture for enhanced NO2 capture

Nemanja Barac, Ernest Barcelo, Dusica Stojanovic, Stoja Milovanovic, Petar Uskokovic, Patrick Gane, Katarina Dimic-Misic, Monireh Imani, Djordje Janackovic 2022 Environmental Science and Pollution Research

Improved stabilisation of graphite nanoflake dispersions using hydrothermally-produced nanocellulose

Katarina Dimic-Misic, Jean Buffiere, Monireh Imani, Kaarlo Nieminen, Herbert Sixta, Patrick Gane 2021 Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects

Iso‐ and anisotropic etching of micro nanofibrillated cellulose films by sequential oxygen and nitrogen gas plasma exposure for tunable wettability on crystalline and amorphous regions

Katarina Dimić‐Mišić, Mirjana Kostić, Bratislav Obradović, Milorad Kuraica, Ana Kramar, Monireh Imani, Patrick Gane 2021 Materials

Novel device for determining the effect of jetting shear on the stability of inkjet ink

Patrick A. C. Gane, Monireh Imani, Katarina Dimic-Misic, Enn Kerner 2021 Journal of Print and Media Technology Research

Surface Patterning Increases Fluid Sorption Efficiency in Porous Reactive Coatings

P. A. C. Gane, C. J. Ridgway, M. Kijevčanin, M. Stijepović, P. S. Uskoković, N. Barać, K. Dimić-Mišić, M. Imani, D. Janaćković, E. Barceló 2021 Transport in Porous Media

Calcium carbonate as functional filler in polyamide 12-manipulation of the thermal and mechanical properties

Fabio Ippolito, Gunter Hübner, Tim Claypole, Patrick Gane 2021 Processes

Impact of bimodal particle size distribution ratio of functional calcium carbonate filler on thermal and flowability properties of polyamide 12

Fabio Ippolito, Gunter Hübner, Tim Claypole, Patrick Gane 2021 Applied Sciences (Switzerland)

Bicomponent Cellulose Fibrils and Minerals Afford Wicking Channels Stencil-Printed on Paper for Rapid and Reliable Fluidic Platforms

Katariina Solin, Maryam Borghei, Monireh Imani, Tero Kämäräinen, Kaisa Kiri, Tapio Mäkelä, Alexey Khakalo, Hannes Orelma, Patrick A.C. Gane, Orlando J. Rojas 2021 ACS Applied Polymer Materials

Nanoscale Wear and Mechanical Properties of Calcite: Effects of Stearic Acid Modification and Water Vapor

Natalia A. Wojas, Illia Dobryden, Viveca Wallqvist, Agne Swerin, Mikael Jarn, Joachim Schoelkopf, Patrick A. C. Gane, Per M. Claesson 2021 Langmuir

Surface-Modified and Unmodified Calcite: Effects of Water and Saturated Aqueous Octanoic Acid Droplets on Stability and Saturated Fatty Acid Layer Organization

Natalia A. Wojas, Agne Swerin, Viveca Wallqvist, Mikael Järn, Joachim Schoelkopf, Patrick A.C. Gane, Per M. Claesson 2021 Langmuir
More information on our research in the Aalto research portal.
Research portal
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