Inkjet printing is great since it can be used with a variety of different materials. Therefore there are many opportunities to develop innovative applications.
We have also developed techniques that allow for very precise synchronization of the piezoelectric dispensing process with other devices such as cameras, light sensors, and illumination modules (ie., LEDs). This allows the possibility of detecting the droplet whether it is coming out of the nozzle or as it hits the substrate surface.
This can be used to characterize the sample as it is coming out of the dispenser. For example, say you wanted to dispense fluorescently labeled cells (ie., similar to a FACS cell sorter). Using this technique we can flash a LED for exciting the fluorescence and using a filter in front of the camera (or it could be a photodiode) and collect the signal at the same time as the flash which is both done at a precise time after the nozzle dispensers.
Like cell sorting, this can also be applied to doing chemical reactions. Data can be collected immediately after the dispensing so take pyro DNA sequencing for example, in this case, if a nucleotide is incorporated during the DNA synthesis process, light is released which can be measured. We can put 4 different smart dispensers on a system (A,T,G, and C) and read feedback as the nucleotides get incorporated.